Toronto, April 08, 2014 (PPI-OT): Mr. Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance of the Ontario Province, paid a courtesy call on the Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today.
Mr. Sousa, while welcoming the Finance Minister to Canada, stated that the Ontario Government greatly admires the Pakistani businessmen, entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers, accountants and other professionals, who have been making valuable contributions to the Canadian economy and society.
He stated that he will be presenting his second budget as the Finance Minister and to boost the economy and employment the Government is proposing to spend C$11.3 billion more than the previous year.
While wishing him success, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stated that he will also be presenting his second budget in June, 2014. He said that although Pakistan’s GDP has been growing at 3% for the past few years, this year the growth is expected to be 4%. However, the target of 6% growth is likely to be achieved in the next few years owing to various economic reforms being undertaken by the present government, he added.
Highlighting priority areas, Dar said that the Government was determined to pursue very aggressive infrastructure development program for which $34 billion would be spent in the next four years on the expansion of Motorways, transmission lines, energy sector etc. Adding that the government is determined to pursue the policy of transparency, good governance and zero tolerance for corruption.
The government is also resolute to fulfil its election manifesto by giving priority to four Es- Education, Economy, Energy and Eradication of Extremism, he added. The Finance Minister also briefed Charles Sousa on 3G and 4G technologies being introduced in Pakistan, which would attract massive investments in the telecommunication sector.
The Finance Minister expressed his determination to correct the existing energy mix in Pakistan. Presently, 75% source of energy is furnace oil, due to which per unit cost has become exorbitantly high. Hence, the government intends to give priority to clean energy, he said.
The Finance Minister expressed the hope that the Canadian companies would invest in hydro projects as they have tremendous expertise in this field. He said that the government has signed a 2000 MW nuclear power plant with China and was negotiating for additional 3000 MW plant on BOT mechanism. On the security situation, the Finance Minister underscored the need for giving dialogue a last chance.
Mr. Sousa expressed the hope that by following robust and vigorous economic agenda, the government is certain to overcome economic difficulties, which would, in turn, pave the way for more foreign investments, both by expatriate Pakistanis and foreign companies. He stated that economic activities in the country would generate jobs opportunities for people, which would help reduce illiteracy and extremism.
Mr. Sousa appreciated Pakistan’s positive role in the post 9/11 war against terrorism. He deplored criticism against Pakistan in this regard. Mr. Sousa said that the Ontario government is pursuing a practical ‘energy mix’ policy. The 50% source of energy is nuclear, followed by hydro and gas. The green energy constitutes only 6%. While wishing success in achieving economic stability, Mr. Sousa assured of Ontario government’s support in this regard.
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