Washington, April 09, 2014 (PPI-OT): Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said Islamabad’s commitment to make best use of the country’s economic potential and growing international confidence in Pakistan’s policies will help sustain growth momentum in the years ahead.
Senator Dar was speaking at the US Institute of Peace at the start his visit to Washington, during which he is scheduled to hold Economic Dialogue with the United Sates officials and participate in IMF-World Bank annual spring meetings.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani and Finance Secretary Dr. Waqar Masood Khan, were also present. The finance minister was confident that the country would chalk up a four percent GDP growth this year and said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif-led government plans to raise the economic growth to six percent of GDP in the coming years.
Citing the international market’s amazing interest in Pakistan’s plan on issuing Eurobonds, he said the demonstration of massive response to Pakistani sovereign paper is unprecedented. “The multilateral donors and international markets have reposed tremendous confidence in Pakistan’s economic future,” he said during a discussion moderated by USIP’s South Asia Program Moeed Yousaf.
Apprising the think tank audience of the remarkable macroeconomic recovery, Dar said in a matter of eight months Pakistan has seen a 17 percent jump in revenues, 11 percent growth in remittances, 6.2 percent expansion in exports and rise in GDP growth to four percent. At the same time, the government has also maintained the fiscal deficit below target.
All this has been possible due to critical economic reforms the government introduced at the cost political popularity within the first few months of its inception, he said. Dar said Pakistan could now access $ 1.7 billion in World Bank’s International Development Association for development projects. He also indicated that the World Bank would extend around 10.2 billion dollars for development projects in next five years.
Combined with foreign investment inflows, future privatization, rise in exports and consistent policies, job creation through development work and upsurge in economic activity in services, industrial and agricultural sectors, Pakistan would be able to move forward on a robust growth track, he said.
The finance minister underscored Pakistan’s vast economic potential, arguing that the rapid improvement in the last eight months proves that despite inherited problems and law and order situation in some parts of the country, Pakistan, currently ranked 44th, would become the18th largest world economy sooner than projected.
On the Rupee value appreciation, he said, it has helped country save seven billion dollars and said the government has already started passing benefits of the positive development to the people by reducing fuel prices. The rise in the value of Rupee would help further pull down inflation, which currently is around 8.5 percent.
He rejected the assumption that a recent $ 1.5 billion in assistance given to Pakistan by a friendly country was solely responsible for Rupee’s surge, saying it “might have contributed a little but it cannot be a total wholesome reason.” International confidence has been building steadily due to many reforms and steps taken by the government.
The finance minister also touched on Islamabad’s plans to double the education budget to four percent of GDP by the end of the government’s term, overcome energy shortages through construction of dams and exploitation of indigenous resources, curb the menace of violent extremism and provide employment to people across the country through massive $ 30 billion infrastructure and development projects in the years ahead. The government is also encouraging women’s participation in development of the country, he said.
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