Press Releases/Media
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September 29, 2016 (PR No. 1812)

Delegation from USAID called on the Finance Minister

Mr. William Hammink Assistant to USAID Administrator accompanied by US Ambassador David Hale and a delegation from USAID called on the Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar today. Mr. Donald Sampler, the outgoing Assistant to USAID Administrator also attended the meeting.

The Finance Minister congratulated Mr Hammink on his new assignment and appreciated the historical role of USAID in partnering with Pakistan to achieve its development objectives. The Minister said that it would be useful if the USAID can assist Pakistan through partnering in signature infrastructure development projects. He also emphasized that the USAID should consider to further realign its programs and assistance so that our development priorities are in sync and monitoring of development assistance and evaluation is improved. He explained the work being done to rehabilitate the Temporarily Displaced Persons back to their native areas and that large infrastructure and reconstruction projects were being undertaken in this regard to compliment the success achieved under operation Zarb-e-Azab. 

William Hammink said that USAID looks forward to continuing its excellent partnership and relationship with the government and people of Pakistan. US Ambassador congratulated the Finance Minister on successful completion of the IMF program and informed that the Pakistan Enhanced Partnership Agreement (PEPA) was signed between the Government of Pakistan and USA on 16th September, 2016. This provides for US$ 407 million development assistance in agriculture, education, energy, health, disaster resilience and governance.

USAID reps briefed the Minister on their work with US based Pakistani's to develop improved links between them and Pakistan's development priorities in trade and investment. The meeting was attended by Secretary EAD, Chairman FBR and Special Secretary Finance.
 
September 27, 2016 (PR No. 1811)

Finance Minister chaired the 3rd meeting of NFIS

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar chaired 3rd meeting of National Financial Inclusion Council (NFIS) today in Islamabad. The council reviewed progress on Financial Inclusion initiatives and allied indicators. Improvements in areas of installation of biometric verification machines, development of Interoperable services for digital transactions and launch of Govt. of Punjab E-Credit Scheme for small farmers were presented in the meeting. Progress on initiatives like Exim Bank, Mortgage Refinance Company and Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company was also shared with the Council.  The Council was briefed that Biometric verification machines have been installed at 54000 retail locations. Substantial growth has been witnessed in the areas of Branchless Banking, Agriculture credit, microfinance, SME Finance and Islamic Banking since launch of NFIS in May 2015. 

The Council noted that all levels of NFIS governance structure including Steering Committee, Technical Committees and Working Groups have been fully operationalized. Actions suggested by these committees have full ownership from private sector. Finance Minister appreciated public-private sector joint commitment for promotion of financial inclusion in Pakistan.

 The Council also overviewed key strategic initiatives approved by NFIS steering committee in its last meeting held in July 2016. It was informed that on the basis of achievability, scalability and impact, 10 strategic actions were adopted covering all areas related to Financial Inclusion. 

While reviewing the recommendations presented to the Council, the Finance Minister approved the major actions and advised the concerned stakeholders including NADRA, FBR, Provincial Governments, SBP and MoF to further improve recommendations related to NADRA verification cost and taxation structure for branchless banking operations.

Finance Minister advised that the Ministry of Finance should prioritize easing and facilitation of pensioners to ensure digital pension payments to them. He also urged the provinces to work more closely and actively within the NFIS Council so that maximum benefits of financial inclusion are achieved all across the country. Minister also asked EAD to facilitate SBP in obtaining technical and financial support from International Development Partners for setting up National Payment Gateway to be housed at SBP.  Chairman SECP also shared the key developments especially in the area of mutual funds, warehouse receipt financing, pension and insurance that will support financial inclusion.

            Finance Minister lauded efforts of SBP team and other Council Members and advised to maintain the momentum for achieving ultimate targets. Meeting was attended by NFIS Council members including Governor SBP, Secretary Finance, Chairman SECP, Chairman FBR, Chairman NADRA, and representatives from Provincial Finance Departments, PTA and ICT. Deputy Governor, Mr. Saeed Ahmad SBP alongwith his team and senior representatives from MoF also attended the meeting.
 
September 27, 2016 (PR No. 1810)

Finance Minister's Policy Statement in National Assembly

MULTILATERAL CONVENTION ON MUTUAL ADMINISTRATIVE
ASSISTANCE IN TAX MATTERS
  • Multilateral Convention - a joint initiative of Council of Europe and OECD
  • Most comprehensive multilateral instrument available for all forms of tax co-operation to tackle tax evasion and avoidance
  • Prior to Pakistan, there were 103 countries and jurisdictions in the Convention [G-20 countries, OECD countries and many developing countries] (Pakistan is the 104th country)
  • On 20th January 2014, Federal Cabinet approved the Summary submitted by FBR with approval of the Finance Minister for signing the Multilateral Convention
  • Pakistan then sent a request to the OECD Secretariat expressing its strong interest in becoming Signatory and Party to the Convention
  • The request was forwarded to the Coordinating Body (CB) of the Convention
  • Pakistan made consistent efforts to obtain approval of the Coordinating Body by:
    • Making necessary amendments in tax laws (through Finance Act 2015 and in Section 107 of Income Tax Ordinance 2001 through Finance Act 2016), particularly with reference to confidentiality provisions
    • Pakistan joined the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information and successfully cleared its 1st Peer Review in June 2015. In June 2016, in the 2nd Peer Review at Oslo, Norway, the Global Forum rated Pakistan as Largely compliant jurisdiction on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.
  • On 14th July 2016, OECD communicated that there is now consensus in the Coordinating Body to invite Pakistan to join the Convention
  • Date agreed in principle as 14th September 2016 subject to Cabinet approval
  • On 31st August 2016, Federal Cabinet authorized the Finance Minister to sign the Convention
  • Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif signed Instrument of Full Powers to Finance Minister on 6th September 2016
  • Finance Minister signed the Convention on 14th September 2016 at the OECD Secretariat in Paris in the presence of Secretary General OECD
  • The Convention shall facilitate in the areas of international cooperation for better operation of our domestic tax laws
  • Pakistan shall be able to exchange information, including information on banking details, on reciprocal basis with other partner countries which is foreseeably relevant for the administration or enforcement of its tax laws
  • The Convention shall facilitate Pakistan to obtain information from other member countries in the following three ways:

    o   Exchange of Information on Request: On Pakistan’s request, the other member countries of the Convention will provide any information about particular persons or transactions, including information on banking details, which is relevant for the administration or enforcement of our domestic tax
    o   Spontaneous Exchange of Information: Pakistan and other Parties to the Convention shall, on reciprocal basis, forward to each other any information which may be useful for tax purposes of a taxpayer in the other country
    o   Automatic Exchange of Information: According to the procedure, Pakistan and other member countries shall automatically exchange information about each others’ nationals or residents, particularly on banking details. As such, Pakistan will be able to receive information in few years time, on automatic basis, each year, on the banking and other details of its nationals and tax residents from other Parties of the Convention


  •  The Multilateral Convention shall also facilitate Pakistan and other member countries for the combined tax examinations and recovery of taxes as under:

    • o   Simultaneous Tax Examinations which shall provide an arrangement between Pakistan and other member countries to simultaneously examine, each in its own country, the tax affairs of a person or persons in which they have a common interest, with a view to exchanging useful information [useful to counter transfer pricing and other aggressive tax planning measures of the associated, subsidiary and other related entities]
      o   Tax Examinations Abroad which provides that Pakistan may request any other member country to allow its representatives to be present during tax audit of a taxpayer in that country in order to counter tax avoidance measures of the associated or related entities
      o   Assistance in Recovery of Tax Claims:  At the request of Pakistan and other Parties to the Convention, the Requested State shall take the necessary steps to recover tax claims of the first-mentioned State as if they were its own tax claims
      o   Service of documents: The Requested State shall serve upon the addressee any documents, including those relating to judicial decisions, which emanate from Pakistan and relate to a tax covered by the Multilateral Convention

    ·      Other benefits of signing Convention include:

    • o   It will be hard to stash illegal funds in foreign banks
      o   It will send a strong signal of Pakistan’s commitment to fight tax fraud and evasion at international level
      o   It will integrate Pakistan to the rest of the world in the areas of mutual assistance in tax matters
      o   It will develop strong tax cooperation arrangement between Pakistan and other member countries
      o   It will reinforce FBR to track tax evaders, no matter where they have accumulated their wealt
 
September 26, 2016 (PR No. 1809)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting of ECC

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet here at the Prime Minister’s Office this evening.

The Meeting considered and approved the Summary presented by Ministry of Industries and Production for the reduction in price of imported urea fertilizer lying with NFML. The Committee had earlier fixed the price of the imported urea Rs. 1310/- per bag. The ECC had earlier formed a Committee headed by Secretary Industries and Production to propose steps for the enhancement of sales of the imported urea. The Committee in today’s meeting presented its report and suggested measures to boost the sales and recommended reduction in price. ECC after detailed deliberations reduced the price to Rs. 1200/- per bag.

ECC also accorded approval to the proposal of the Ministry of Finance for the Issuance of Sukuk, 2016.  The Committee was informed that as the international rating agencies have improved the ratings of Pakistan, the current issue of the Sukuk is expected to bring in a better yield/ pricing. Finance Division also requested the exemption of certain taxes and duties for making the sale of the Sukuk a desirable transaction for the foreign investors, which was approved by the ECC.

 
September 25, 2016 (PR No. 1808)

Finance Minister statement for annual meetings with World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund in Washington DC on 7-9 October 2016.

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar will lead the Pakistan delegation at the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund in Washington DC on 7-9 October 2016. On the occasion of the Annual Meetings, Finance Minister has given an official Statement. The following is the text of the statement:

“It is an honour to participate in 2016 Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund. I would like to express my sincere appreciation for excellent arrangements. 

I take this opportunity to congratulate Dr. Jim Yong Kim for his successful term as President of the World Bank Group during which he exhibited great leadership qualities. His commitment to issues like climate change, public-private sector growth, human capital development and better health are at the heart of the global development agenda and will set the theme for future interventions. Considering his personal commitment and outstanding performance as President World Bank Group, it is my pleasure to formally endorse his candidacy for a second term.

Global Economic Environment
We are all aware that growth prospects remain weak on global level as the world economy remains vulnerable to shocks. Global economy slowed down in 2015, growing at just 2.4 percent compared with 2.6 percent in 2014. Weak oil and commodity prices, shrinking capital flows and global trade contributed towards a decelerated growth in most developed and emerging economies. Risks to slow-moving global recovery are significant and include deteriorating conditions for exports, weak economic activity in advanced economies, rising private sector debt in a few large emerging markets and heightened geopolitical uncertainties.

Pakistan Economy
Having achieved macroeconomic stability in the last three years through reducing energy shortages, higher revenue collection, wider tax base, significant reduction in fiscal deficit and infrastructure development, we are now focused on consolidating the gains and achieving higher, inclusive and sustainable growth which has been over 4 percent for three years in a row and reached 4.71 percent in financial year 2016, the highest in last eight years. The forex reserves of the country have improved equal to over 5 months of imports.  

Poverty Reduction
Earlier this year, Government of Pakistan adopted a new and better methodology for measuring poverty, moving from “Food Energy Intake” to “Cost of Basic Needs” formula, which raised the bar on who is considered poor in Pakistan. According to the new methodology, the poverty headcount percentage declined from 64.3 percent in FY 2002 to 29.5 percent in FY 2014. If measured on the old methodology, the poverty headcount in FY 2014 would have been 9.31 percent.

Despite tight fiscal discipline, government has expanded the social safety net expenditure from US$ 400 million in FY 2013 to US$ 1.15 billion in FY 2017. Efforts are continuing for National Financial and Digital Inclusion in order to cater the unserved and underserved segments of society.

We are aligning our development policies, both at the national and sub-national levels, with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Human development is a core driver of growth and we continue to invest in all its facets.

Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management
Climate change, resulting in increased frequency and severity of natural disasters, is a constant challenge for Pakistan. We have mainstreamed disaster risk management into our development policy framework and are developing strong institutional capacity and resilience so that the economic losses of natural disasters are contained. We are closely working with World Bank Group and other development partners in this regard.

The World Bank Group
We acknowledge the close partnership with World Bank Group which has contributed to development and growth initiatives of Pakistan since 1952.

The current Country Partnership Strategy agreed between Pakistan and the Bank identifies key areas in which the World Bank Group can best assist Pakistan in achieving sustainable development and poverty reduction. We appreciate the Bank for supporting the priorities identified by the Government of Pakistan which are Economy, Energy, Extremism and Education / Health. 

Finally, I would express my sincere appreciation for the Board of Directors, the management and the staff of World Bank Group and the IMF for their continued support and cooperation and look forward to further deepening our partnership.

Thank you.” 

 
September 24, 2016 (PR No. 1807)

Ambassador for Japan to Pakistan, called on the Finance Minister

Mr. Yasushi Akahoshi, President of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), accompanied by JETRO officials and HE Takashi Kurai, Ambassador for Japan to Pakistan, called on the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar this morning. Chairman BOI Miftah Ismail also attended this meeting.

The Finance Minister welcomed the delegation and noted that Pakistan has very old and established business and political relations with Japan. He apprised the delegation on the economic reform process undertaken by the government and that it was bearing fruit in the shape of revived interest of foreign investors in Pakistan and recognition from the international business community. The Finance Minister appreciated the Japanese investments in auto industry and invited Japanese companies to invest further in Pakistan. The Finance Minister appreciated the contribution of JETRO for brining Japanese investment in Pakistan.

President JETRO lauded government's efforts on economic growth and development and congratulated on successful completion of the IMF program. He said that JETRO is encouraging Japanese investors and entrepreneurs to visit Pakistan for expansion of their business and that JETRO is holding a Japan Trade Fair in Karachi later this year. According to a JETRO survey, Japanese companies, for their future expansion plans of 1 to 2 years, rate Pakistan the highest among 20 countries/regions for investment.

Finance Minister informed the delegation that the investment climate in Pakistan has received a boost due to the significant improvement in law and order condition in the country. He said that Pakistan has abolished visa fees for Japanese businessmen and urged the Japanese government to remove its travel advisory for Pakistan so that bilateral business can be further facilitated. The Minister also informed that Pakistan would facilitate setting up of a Special Economic Zone for Japanese companies in Pakistan and urged JETRO to work with BOI to further explore this mutually beneficial opportunity.

Both sides agreed to work together to further increase bilateral trade and business. Senior officials of the FBR, Ministry of Commerce, EAD and Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.

 
September 24, 2016 (PR No. 1806)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of the Management and Development Committee of Bari Imam Complex

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting of the Management and Development Committee of Bari Imam Complex. The Committee was apprised of the progress on project so far completed. 

The Finance Minister expressed satisfaction over the work with undertaking completed. He stressed need for taking into account needs of zaireen while undertaking the project.

Finance Minister directed that phase-I of the construction should be completed expeditiously in addition to providing necessary facilities to the visitors. He also directed early finalization of phase-II planning so that it can also be undertaken.

The meeting was attended by Chairman CDA, officials of Islamabad administration as well as other committee members.

 
September 23, 2016 (PR No. 1805)

Delegation of APTMA called on the Finance Minister

A delegation comprising industrial exporters including representatives of APTMA, leather and rice associations called on the Finance Minister today. The businessmen appreciated the incentives offered by the government to spur the growth in export sectors. The Finance Minister encouraged the business community to fully utilize the broad incentives given by the government in the recent budget and the strategic trade policy and work for value addition. The Minister said that exporters should gauge world trends and become competitive accordingly. He said that export led growth is a major government priority and every possible measure to enhance the capacity of exporters including encouraging import of modern machinery to increase exports is being undertaken.    

The delegation gave their suggestions to increase exports and requested the government's support. The Finance Minister said that further discussions on this will continue in an effort to formulate recommendations at the earliest for consideration of the Prime Minister. The meeting was attended by Chairman BOI, SA to PM on Revenue, Finance Secretary, Secretary Commerce, Secretary National Food Security, SA to Finance Minister and officials of the Finance Ministry and FBR.
 
September 23, 2016 (PR No. 1804)

Delegation from Foton Group, China called on the Finance Minister

A delegation from Foton Group, China called on the Finance Minister today. MoS / Chairman Board of Investment and SA to PM on Revenue also attended the meeting. The Foton Group appreciated the pro investment policies of the government and showed keen interest in investing in manufacturing a range of automobiles in Pakistan.

The Finance Minister welcomed the delegation and appreciated their plans for investment in Pakistan. He said that the government has earlier this year announced the new Auto policy for the next five years and encouraged the Chinese company to make use of the opportunities for investment offered under this policy, in consultation with the Chairman / MoS BOI.  

 
September 23, 2016 (PR No. 1803)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of ECC

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet here at the Prime Minister’s Office today.

The Committee approved a summary moved by the Ministry of Water and Power for allowing NTDC (National Transmission and Despatch Company Limited) to approach NEPRA for approval of extension of tariff from 1st January 2016 to 31st December 2016 for a contract with TAVANIR Iran for the purchase of 74MW. 

On a summary moved by the Finance Division, ECC gave approval to HBL (Habib Bank Limited) to open a bank branch in Urumqi, China.

The ECC approved a summary of the Ministry of Water and Power for issuance of a policy directive to NEPRA to allow 1% of the Capital cost net of aforementioned US $ 150,000/- amount on account of security to be distributed annually starting from the construction period till the term of the Power Purchase Agreement.

ECC allowed Finance Division to issue sovereign Sukuk in the international capital markets.

The ECC reviewed Macro Economic Indicators and noted that the CPI inflation was estimated to be 3.56 percent in August 2016 compared to 8.55 percent in August 2013 and 11.56 percent in August 2011. Furthermore, the ECC was informed that there was sufficient wheat stock in the country, which stood at 9.49 million tons on September 20, 2016, compared to 8.75 million tons at the corresponding period last year. The ECC was also apprised that Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) increased by 3.2% in FY 2015-16.
 
September 22, 2016 (PR No. 1802)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting on operationalization of EXIM Bank

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting on operationalization of EXIM Bank. The Governor State Bank, Mr. Ashraf Mehmood Wathra also attended the meeting.

The EXIM Bank of Pakistan has been incorporated with SECP on June 11, 2015 under the Companies ordinance, 1984. As per its Article of Association, the authorized Capital is Rs. 100 billion while the initial paid-up capital is Rs. 10 billion. The EXIM Bank of Pakistan is fully owned by Government of Pakistan.

To operationalize the bank the government has released Rs. 7 billion for the FY/2015-16. The remaining amount of Rs. 3 billion will be released during the current FY/2016-17. SBP has agreed to place the services of five SBP officers on deputation with EXIM Bank for a period of three years. Process of hiring of CEO & Company Secretary for the EXIM Bank on regular basis in under process, which will be completed shortly.

The Finance Minister expressed satisfaction over the progress regarding operationalization of the bank.

The meeting was attended by officials of Ministry of Finance.

 
September 22, 2016 (PR No. 1801)

Speech of the Finance Minister at PIMS Hospital's Thanks Giving Event

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar was invited as Chief Guest at “PIMS Thanks Giving Event” arranged by the young doctors of the hospital to show their gratitude to the Finance Minister for improving their financial package and other facilities.

Addressing the Ceremony the Minister said,” Government wants to foster and encourage the dispersion of knowledge and thought process, Young doctors should access knowledge, conduct research, collaborate with the national organizations. With collective efforts we can improve the healthcare services in the best interests of the community”. With specific reference to PIMS, the Minister said,” Government of Pakistan is focused on the improvement and upgradation of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), the hospital caters to a large number of patients, delivers healthcare services to patients and we acknowledge its role”.

“We have solved the problems of doctors in Punjab during our previous government and the same duty is performed here in the Federal Government by us” added the Minister.

“We provide all possible space to people having different point of views and it is important for a democracy and sign of good governance. All around the world people now acknowledge the economic development and stability of Pakistan”. The Minister also briefly touched upon the subject of economic dividends earned by the country.

The Minister also said, Honourable PM announced special package for upgradation of existing facilities at PIMS  / Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University that includes

  1. increase in beds strength of Burns Center, Children Hospital, Maternity & Child HealthCare Center;
  2. establishment of state of the art surgical towers;
  3. 42 bedded new ICU;
  4. revival of liver transplant center;
  5. special hiring of physicians on market based remuneration

“PM also accorded in principle approval for construction of 39 state of the art hospitals across the country out of which 3 will be constructed in Federal Capital Territory”, told the Finance Minister. There will be an increase in the stipends for under training Post Graduate Residents to Rs. 73,000/- per month and to House Officers Rs. 40,000/- per month at Federal level only, the arrears will also be paid to the doctors on 1st October. Training slots for the Post Graduate Residents will be increased to 100 more seats and 45 seats for House Officers, announced the Finance Minister.

The Minister also acknowledged the services of professor Javed Akram, VC PIMS.

 
September 22, 2016 (PR No. 1800)

Vice President Operations Policy & Country Services, World Bank Group, called on the Finance Minister

Mr. Hartwig Schafer, Vice President Operations Policy & Country Services, World Bank Group, called on the Finance Minister today.

Finance Minister welcomed Mr. Schafer and said that Pakistan valued the strong collaboration with the World Bank Group. He said that since the last three years the government has undertaken challenging economic reforms with success and appreciated the support of the World Bank and other development partners in this reform process.

The Finance Minister highlighted that the government was working to eliminate load shedding and improve infrastructure in the country. He said that the Government’s is giving priority to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. In addition, Pakistan has worked closely with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and has a robust AML regime, which is consistently being strengthened. Noting the focus of the government on increasing Financial Inclusion & Digital Inclusion, the Minister said that the objective is to reach out to the remotest areas of the country and improve disbursement system for BISP beneficiaries. He also apprised the Vice President of the legislations and rule making carried out in the past three years in the fields of banking, corporate governance and financial management.

Mr. Shafer congratulated the Finance Minister for bringing about a remarkable economic turnaround in the country in the last three years. He said that the World Bank portfolio in Pakistan currently supports the pragmatic economic reform agenda of the government and will continue to resonate and sync with the government's economic development objectives. He informed that the next tranche to support expansion of Tarbela has been approved by the Bank.

Finance Minister appreciated the leadership of Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President World Bank and said that Pakistan has taken the lead in proposing the nomination of Dr. Kim for re-election for another five year term. He added that there is potential for enhanced collaboration to develop the agriculture sector in Pakistan.

The meeting was attended by Secretaries of economic ministries.
 
September 22, 2016 (PR No. 1799)

Finance Minister ordered to Investigation against individuals/companies named in Bahama leaks

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar in a meeting with SA PM on Revenue and FBR team has given directions to investigate and take action as per the due process of law against the individuals and companies named by a section of media in the Bahama Leaks. The same instructions have been issued for SECP and State Bank of Pakistan by the Finance Minister.

The Minister said that no discrimination against anyone should be made and the probe be started immediately keeping in view all the legal formalities.

 
September 21, 2016 (PR No. 1798)

Swedish Ambassador called on the Finance Minister

Swedish Ambassador Ms Ingrid Johansson called on the Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today.

Finance Minister welcomed the Ambassador to Pakistan and expressed hope that she would work towards further enhancing trade and economic ties with Pakistan. He briefed the Ambassador about the turnaround in the economy over the past three years which had resulted in a growth rate of 4.7%, record low inflation and increase in foreign exchange reserves. He also informed the Ambassador about the income support program in Pakistan which was designed to make the people self sufficient.

The Swedish Ambassador thanked the Finance Minister for receiving her and informed him of her recent visit to Karachi where she had held useful bilateral meetings. She also informed of the Swedish collaboration with the SBP as well as Punjab government in the areas of digital financial services and road safety respectively.

It was pointed out that Sweden was world's leader on IT sector, particularly in start-ups, and that efforts were underway to establish links with various universities in Pakistan. Sweden also has world leading companies like Ericsson, Volvo, Saab and Scania which had put its economy on a strong footing.

Finance Minister said that Swedish capability in IT sector could be utilized to provide increased financial services the people in various parts of the country. 

The meeting was attended by Secretary Economic Affairs Division as well as senior officials of Ministry of Finance.

 
September 21, 2016 (PR No. 1797)

Country Head Asian Development Bank (ADB) called on the Finance Minister

Mr. Werner Leipach, Country Head Asian Development Bank (ADB) called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar today.

The Minister welcomed the guest and discussed with him the agenda for the upcoming CAREC (Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation) Ministerial Conference to be held in Islamabad in October, 2016.

Mr. Leipach apprised the Minister about the preparations made so far by the Asian Development Bank for the upcoming CAREC conference and expressed his hope that the conference will meet its objectives successfully with the participation of a large number of CAREC members.

During the meeting discussion to review of the ADB portfolio for Pakistan also took place. The Minister said that ADB had been a long standing development partner for Pakistan and that the cooperation will continue in future also for the development of the country and its people and that after the CAREC Conference will bring new opportunities for regional infrastructure development and trade facilitation.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Division.

 
September 21, 2016 (PR No. 1796)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the process of Operationalization of PMIC

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting at the Finance Division to review the process of Operationalization of Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company Limited (PMIC).

CEO PPAF, Qazi Azmat Isa briefed the Finance Minister that the first board meeting of PMIC has also taken place on August 25, 2016. He informed that the governance structure of PMIC is being set in place and a CEO has been hired after a transparent process to steer the operationalization. SECP has also issued the license to PMIC to carry out investment finance services as NBFC (non-banking finance company).

The Finance Minister appreciated the progress so far being made regarding the operationalization of PMIC. The Minister said that PMIC will strengthen the government’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy. The new company will have the capacity to serve a large underserved client base, added the Minister.  
It was decided that PMIC will start functioning in October 2016.

Secretary Finance Dr.Waqar Masood Khan, Governor State Bank of Pakistan. Mr. Ashraf Wathra, Secretary EAD Mr. Tariq Bajwa and other senior officials of the Ministry of Finance participated the meeting.

 
September 20, 2016 (PR No. 1795)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the performance of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here today to review the performance of the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund. CEO PPAF, Qazi Azmat Isa briefed the Finance Minister on the progress of the Prime Minister’s Interest Free Loan Scheme under the banner of PPAF.

The Meeting was informed that with an allocation of Rs 3.5 billion, the scheme had reached a total of 207720 borrowers by end August 2016.Those included 127,697 (61%) women and 80,023 (39%) males. Up to Rs.50, 000/- are given to each borrower under the scheme and this amount has a 99% recovery rate. With 26 partner organizations, PPAF is presently disbursing the interest free loans in 44 Districts and 287 Union Councils. The total amount disbursed to the borrowers till the end of August 2016 has reached Rs.4.518 billion through 233 loan centers.

The target areas for the loans are areas with low socio-economic indicators, high food insecurity and low or no coverage by conventional micro-finance. The Prime Minister’s Interest Free Loan scheme not only provides loans to the consumers but also gives them business advisory services. A consumer graduates from dependency to sufficiency and then his/her links are established with microfinance institutions and markets. It is an all encompassing scheme where people are dealt with respect and guidance is provided on each step and a social change automatically comes into effect.

The Finance Minister appreciated the work so far done by the PPAF to further the PM’s Interest Free Loan Scheme. He desired that every effort should be made to export the coverage and increase the total volume of loans extended. He appreciated that the scheme was presently covering 61% females.“The success of the scheme speaks volumes about the hard work and commitment by the government for the people of the country. He added that the scheme would bring a quality difference in the lives of the people.

The Minister assured the PPAF of support in its efforts to make the scheme more effective. Senior officials of the Economic Affairs Division and Ministry of Finance participated in the meeting.
 
September 19, 2016 (PR No. 1794)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review revenue collection targets

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here today to review the revenue collection targets and the preparations for the sales tax refunds in cases where RPOs have been issued up till 30th June 2016.

Chairman FBR Nisar Mohammad Khan briefed the Finance Minister about the latest revenue collection figures. He briefed that in the first quarter of the FY 16-17, the revenue collection targets have been satisfactory and will pick up further after Eid holidays.

The Finance Minister appreciated the efforts of the FBR team and directed to redouble efforts to meet the revenue targets.

The meeting also discussed the Tax related steps required to be taken by FBR under the Doing Business Reforms Strategy 2016. Finance Minister directed that every effort should be made to improve Pakistan’s ranking in Doing Business Index.

The Finance Minister shared with the FBR team the outcome of his recent visit to Paris for signing the OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.” The French team and the world at large termed the signing of this convention a big step forward” said the Minister.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of FBR and the Ministry of Finance.

 
September 19, 2016 (PR No. 1793)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the preparations for CAREC Ministerial Conference

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division to review the preparations for upcoming international commitments including CAREC Ministerial Conference to be held in October 2016 in Islamabad as well as visits by MD IMF Christine Lagarde and President ADB Takehiko Nakao.

Secretary EAD, Mr. Tariq Bajwa gave a detailed briefing to the Finance Minister on the preparations being made for the events. The Finance Minister said that the aim of the government is to make Pakistan a regional trade hub, contacts with the friendly neighboring countries are to be established and made stronger and in this regard the CAREC Conference will play a positive role.

Transport, energy, trade facilitation, and trade policy will be the priority areas to be discussed at the ten member CAREC forum.  Six multilateral institutions (Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will also be participating at the event.

The upcoming World Bank/ IMF annual meetings that are due in early October 2016 in Washington D.C were also discussed. The Minister directed that comprehensive preparations be made for participation in the annual meetings.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of the Finance Division and Economic Affairs Division.
 
September 17, 2016 (PR No. 1792)

Ambassador of Netherlands called on Finance Minister

Ms. Jeannette Seppen, Ambassador of Netherlands to Pakistan, called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today.

During the meeting, it was conveyed that a meeting between Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar and Dutch Queen Her Majesty Queen Maxima would be held in Washington on 8th October 2016 on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF.

It was also decided that the next meeting of the National Financial Inclusion Council (NFIC) would be held at the earliest as Her Majesty Queen Maxima had indicated that she would join the meeting through video conference.

In addition, the Finance Minister apprised the Ambassador about the signing of OECD Convention on Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters by Pakistan as well as the publication of the Parliamentarian’s Tax Directory for the tax year 2015.

The Ambassador thanked Finance Minister for creating conducive environment for multinational companies in Pakistan and said that Unilever was planning further investments in the country.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.

 
September 14, 2016 (PR No. 1791)

Finance Minister at Foundation of Strategic Research (FRS)

Paris, September 14, 2016: Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs has said that tough and deep rooted fiscal, monetary and economic reforms have paved the way for economic turnaround in Pakistan which led to the improvement of fiscal and monetary  indicators of the country, recognized and appreciated by Credible international  rating agencies.This was stated by him during his address at the Foundation of Strategic Research (FRS), a premier think tank of France, in Paris this morning. The event was jointly organized by FRS and Centre de Recherche International (CERI), another leading thing tank of France. 

In his Talks on the theme, Pakistan and Economic Turnaround Story”, Ishaq Dar said the owing to the prudent and farsighted reforms introduced by the government for revenue generation, tax collection, infrastructure development and increased budgetary allocation to social sector,  the country had recorded the highest GDP growth of 4.7 % in the last eight years, and is fully set to achieve 5.5% GDP growth during the current financial year and 6% -7% GDP growth in the coming years.

He added that renowned international economists and institutions while acknowledging Pakistan’s economic turnaround have termed it the tenth fastest emerging market of the world and have predicted Pakistan to be the 18th largest global economy in 2050. Finance Minister said that he would like this time frame to be reduced by half.

Expressing his grief and sorrow over the loss of innocent lives in recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice he said that Pakistan is itself a victim of terrorism for over a decade having suffered immense human and financial losses. He informed the audience that since June 2014, Pakistan has launched the zarb-e-Azb Military operation which has broken the back bone of the terrorists’ organizations and their networks. He said that we are fighting this war to restore peace in our country and for the regional and global peace.

The Minister said that Pakistan is committed to build and maintain peaceful relations with all its immediate neighbors and rest of the world.

 He said Pakistan is ready to talk with India to resolve all outstanding issues including the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir.  He drew the attention to the recent human rights violations by the Indian security forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir on the unarmed and innocent Kashmiris to curb their right for exercise of self-determination. He called on France to play its due role as permanent member of UNSC to urge India to resolve the issue of Kashmir in accordance with UN SC resolutions.

The Finance Minister is on an official visit to Paris, France accompanied by Dr. Miftah Ismail, MOS/Chairman Board of Investment and a business delegation.
 
September 14, 2016 (PR No. 1790)

Pakistan, OECD signed Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters

Paris, September 14, 2016: Pakistan became a signatory today to the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs signed the Convention along with Mr. Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in a dignified ceremony in Paris.

OECD invitation to Pakistan to sign the Convention was possible after a long process of over two years which included peer reviews and amendments in Pakistani domestic income tax laws to meet the requirements of OECD. It demonstrates Pakistan’s strong commitment to adopt international best practices in the field of tax matters and join the multilateral fight against tax evasion through mutual, auto and spontaneous exchange of information. The Convention, which is currently signed by over 80 countries, would facilitate international cooperation on national tax laws and provide administrative cooperation among member countries to combat tax evasion.

The Finance Minister also held a bilateral meeting with the OECD Secretary General to discuss ways and means to further strengthen the existing ties between Pakistan and the OECD. He conveyed Pakistan’s desire to become a key OECD partner country. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s determination to cooperate with the OECD on all important areas of mutual interest. He informed the Secretary General about the various economic and fiscal reforms undertaken by the government to stabilize Pakistan’s economy, and the increased budgetary support for health and education sectors. He also invited Secretary General to visit Pakistan.

The Secretary General congratulated the Finance Minister on historic signing of the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matter, and for his central role in economic turnaround in Pakistan in the last three years. He acknowledged that Pakistan has made great strides in economic field, which has deservedly received accolades from international financial institutions. He invited Pakistan to take part in various OECD global fora and meetings.

The OECD is an intergovernmental forum, which focuses on issues including trade, taxation, environment, technology and education. It has 35 member countries in Europe, Americas and Asia Pacific. Pakistan, though not a member of the OECD, has been regularly invited to participate in its various committee meetings.
 
September 14, 2016 (PR No. 1789)

Finance Minister met with leading French car manufacturers

Paris, September 14, 2016: Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization held meetings with two leading French automobile manufacturers, Renault and Peugeot, in Paris today. He briefed them about the recently announced automobile policy of the Government of Pakistan which has given attractive incentive and concessions for foreign investors.

       He emphasized that with the resurgence of Pakistani economy in the last three years, manifested in macroeconomic stability, sustained GDP growth, and stable exchange rate and increasing consumer spending, there is a strong demand for new cars in the country. He invited them to set up their manufacturing plants in the light of the new policy and growing demand. The Senior Executives of both Renault and Peugeot lauded the remarkable turnaround in Pakistan's economy and expressed serious interest in investing in the automobile sector in Pakistan. Chairman BoI, Ambassador of Pakistan to France and French Ambassador to Pakistan were also present during the meeting.
 
September 13, 2016 (PR No. 1788)

Finance Minister asked French investors to invest in Pakistan

Paris, September 13, 2016: Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization presented a strong case about Pakistan’s economic turnaround in the last three years, to a large gathering of senior executives of more than sixty leading French companies, who gathered this morning at a business and investment event hosted by MEDEF (Association of French Entrepreneurs) in his honor.

The Finance Minister is on an official visit to Paris, France accompanied by Dr. Miftah Ismail, MOS/Chairman Board of Investment and a business delegation. In his address at MEDEF, he gave an overview of Pakistan’s macroeconomic stability, acknowledgement by prestigious international financial institutions of the country’s achievements, improvement in law and order situation, and immense scope for business and investment opportunities in Pakistan. He urged the French businessmen to strengthen their trade and economic linkages with Pakistan and take advantage of vast investment opportunities in all fields of the economy.

Earlier, Dr. Miftah Ismail gave a presentation on investment opportunities in Pakistan, assuring the French business community of all the support to engage with Pakistan. Emphasizing Pakistan’s geo-starategic location and the positive impact on economy with the ongoing China –Pakistan Economic Corridor projects, he invited French companies to visit Pakistan and experience first-hand the available opportunities.

There was keen interest in the audience about Pakistan’s growing economic potential and its emergence as a hub of economic activity in South and Central Asia. The participants acknowledged the positive developments taking place in Pakistan and expressed interest in diverse areas like construction, agriculture, banking, aviation, transportation and electronics. MEDEF announced that it would take a French business delegation to Pakistan early next year.

The Finance Minister also held one on one business meeting with senior representatives of important French companies including SNCF (Railways) Airbus (aircraft manufacturer), Suez (energy and gas), Lazard (debt and asset management), CNIM (solutions in energy, environment and defense) and ADIT (consultancy). 

In the evening, Senator Ishaq Dar and Chairman BoI met with Mr. Francois Pupponi, President of France-Pakistan Friendship Group in the French National Assembly. Mr. Paul Giacobbi, Vice President of the Group was also present. The Finance Minister briefed them about the positive developments in Pakistan, since the present government took office in 2013, including economic stability and successful war against terrorism and extremism. He stressed that the friendship groups in the Parliaments of both the countries could play a pivotal role in bringing the two peoples together and enhancing trade and economic linkages. Both the French Parliamentarians expressed their desire to visit Pakistan later this year with a business delegation. They also appreciated the role of Pakistani diaspora in Pakistan, who are setting an example for other Muslim communities in France to live in a peaceful manner.

 
September 10, 2016 (PR No. 1787)

Finance Minister wrote letters to Ministers of nine countries inviting them to attend the 15th CAREC Ministerial Conference

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today wrote letters to Ministers of nine countries inviting them to attend the 15th CAREC Ministerial Conference. The 15th CAREC Ministerial Conference is scheduled to be held in Islamabad on 25th-26th October 2016. The CAREC (Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation) brings together ten regional countries for the purpose of economic and development cooperation.

Finance Minister, in his letters, invited the Ministers to lead a delegation from their countries to the Conference which starts with a Senior Officials’ Meeting on 25th October 2016 before the Ministerial Meeting on 26th October 2016. The theme of this year’s Conference is “Linking connectivity with economic transformation in CAREC”. An Energy Investment Forum is also planned on 24th October 2016.

Invitations have been sent to the Finance Minister of Afghanistan, Minister of Economy of Azerbaijan, Chinese Finance Minister, Minister of National Economy of Kazakhstan, Minister of Economy of Kyrgyz Republic, Finance Minister of Mongolia, Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan, Minister of Economy and Development of Turkmenistan and Finance Minister of Uzbekistan who is also the First Deputy Prime Minister of that country.
 
September 09, 2016 (PR No. 1786)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of Monetary and Fiscal Policies Coordination Board

A meeting of the Monetary and Fiscal Policies Coordination Board was held under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Planning, Development & Reforms, Secretary Finance, Secretary Commerce, Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Former Governor SBP Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Vice Chancellor PIDE, Dr. Asad Zaman, and other senior officers of Finance Division.

Finance Secretary briefed the meeting on economic situation. The economic indicators are moving in right direction, he said. The growth momentum in LSM was continuing, mainly supported by better energy supplies, lower commodity prices and accommodative polices. The sector was able to record a growth of 3.21% during FY 2016. The industry specific data shows that a number of sectors performed well during FY 2016, such as Automobile grew by 16.11%, Fertilizers 13.81%, Chemicals 8.13%, Rubber products 7.16%, Non-Metallic Mineral products 10.02%, Pharmaceuticals 6.54%, Leather 7.76%, Food Beverages 0.92% and Textiles 0.42%. The current trend of import of machinery in construction, textile and power sector bode well for further improvement in LSM sector.

The inflation has been contained due to government’s supportive policies. The current trend suggests that inflation will remain below the target of 6% during current fiscal year.  

Remarkable increase in foreign exchange reserves was noted. During July 2016, current account deficit expanded by $591 million due to fall in exports and remittances. The trade balance improved to $1.5 billion compared to $1.8 billion of last year on YoY basis.

The FBR revenues are continuously rising alongwith the number of taxpayers. During July 2016, FBR tax collection posted a growth of 6.6 %. The meeting was informed that foreign direct investment during July 2016 declined by 14.6%, but portfolio investment remained strong which helped in increasing total foreign investment by 125%. The Finance Minister suggested that Board of Investment should monitor the flow of FDI regularly.

The capital market performance is remarkable and our PSX index is better than many capital markets of the world.

The meeting noted that external public debt to GDP has reduced from 21% in FY 2013 to 20% in FY 2016 indicating reduction in external public debt burden. The debt sustainability indicators of domestic and external debt have improved compared to FY 2013.

The meeting showed concern on the falling exports. It was observed that competitiveness is also one of the reasons in export decline. Finance Minister opined that the government has already initiated a number of measures for exports enhancement. There is no load shedding for the industrial sector. The tariffs have been slashed. He stressed to look into the competitiveness aspect and suggested that meetings of Cabinet sub-committee n Production and Exports should be held regularly and a multi-pronged approach at federal, provincial and local level be followed.

Governor SBP informed that monetary expansion during FY 2016 remained aligned with the overall improvements in macroeconomic indicators with substantial contribution stemming from pick-up in private sector credit. The credit to private sector recorded strong growth of 11.5% to reach Rs 460.6 billion during FY 2016. Overall, there has been a broad-based increase in credit demand during FY 2016 with impetus coming from textiles, garments, chemicals and services sectors. Reserve money growth decelerated to 2.8% during 1st Jul to 26th Aug 2016 as against a growth of 8.0% in corresponding period of last year. Currency in Circulation (CIC) growth remained positive throughout FY 2016. During 1st Jul to 26th Aug 2016, CIC decreased by Rs 50 billion compared with an increase of Rs1 48 billion in the corresponding period of FY16. The currency–to-M2 ratio increased to 26.2 on 26th August 2016 compared 24.4 a year earlier.

Finance Minister desired that all Ministries and organizations should keep a close watch on essential economic indicators so that remedial action is initiated as and when required.
 
September 09, 2016 (PR No. 1785)

Contracts Awarded for Broadband for Sustainable Development Projects in Balochistan by Universal Service Fund

Universal Service Fund (USF) entered in contracts worth Rs. 3.72 Billion in total with Ufone to provide Mobile Broadband Internet/ 3G services in Khuzdar and Chagai areas in Balochistan.

In this connection, a signing ceremony of USF with Ufone, was held at Ministry of IT and Telecom. Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization, Mr. Muhammad Ishaq Dar was the Chief Guest at the occasion and he was accompanied by Minister for IT & Telecom, Mrs. Anusha Rahman. Mr. Faisal Sattar, CEO - USF signed contracts with Mr. Rainer Rathgeber, President and CEO-Ufone.
    
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Signing between USF and NTC was also held at the event with regards to establishment of telecentres. Telecenters will be providing e-services, distance learning and create employment opportunities, among various other benefits like bridging the digital divide.

Speaking at the occasion the Finance Minister congratulated Universal Services Fund, Ufone and NTC to sign the agreements. He appreciated the private sector for coming forward and joining hands with government. The Minister said that financial and technical inclusion of the deprived and poor areas of Pakistan is government’s policy. These projects will benefit hundred thousands deserving people in less developed areas. The Minister said that government takes initiative for projects that are commercially non-viable. The purpose is to bring un-served areas in the mainstream. He said that policies of the present government led to macro-economic stability which resulted increase in DFI in diverse sectors. Because of these policies Pakistan become visible on world map. From transportation to telecommunication new projects are materialized and are benefitting people in areas that are not viable for commercial projects. He also appreciated NTS for allocating 30 locations for telecom centres. The Minister said that new locations will be acquired to spread telecom services in far flung areas of Pakistan.

The Minister IT, thanked the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to grace the occasion. Mrs. Anusha Rahman was of the view that the Broadband for Sustainable Development projects will take state of the art 3G Mobile Broadband service to far-flung areas at a rapid pace and in almost parity with urban areas of the country. She said that these contracts are part of overall policy decision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for providing maximum facilitation to remote areas of the country. She informed that a population of around 302,048 in Khuzdar and 147,057 in Chagai will benefit from these projects and around 116 new BTS towers will also be installed.

It is noteworthy to mention here that through these Broadband for Sustainable Development Projects, districts of Nal, Khuzdar, Aaranji, Wadh, Saroona, Mula, Ornach, Zaehri and Karkh in Khuzdar lot and districts of Dal Bandin, Taftan and Mashkhel in Chagai lot will be served.
 
September 09, 2016 (PR No. 1784)

Finance Minister launched Taxpayers Directory 2015

Federal Minister for Finance Senator Ishaq Dar launched Taxpayers Directory 2015 here at the Federal Board of Revenue Headquarters on Friday.

Addressing a ceremony, Ishaq Dar said that it was the commitment of PML-N government to publish Tax Directory of general taxpayers and parliamentarians. “It is third time that our government is issuing taxpayers directory and Pakistan is the only fourth country in the world to publish such kind of directory,” he said.

“We took approval from federal cabinet and fulfilled all kind of formalities to publish and today the FBR will upload this directory,” the minister added.

He said that in previous directory record of around 8,56,000 was published but in this directory record of around 10,74,000 taxpayers has been published. “Everyone can check it, we are committed to restrain the privileges of privileged class as we terminate the special SROs and other privileges and are committed to enhance revenue in the country,” Ishaq Dar said.

Ishaq Dar congratulated Chairman FBR Nisar Mohammad Khan and all staff for achieving their targets and making it possible to publish this directory.

The ceremony started with recitation of holy followed by welcome to all guests and dignitaries by FBR Chairman Nisar Mohammad Khan.

Taxpayers Directory 2015 can be seen at www.fbr.gov.pk
 
September 09, 2016 (PR No. 1783)

Finance Minister constituted the Committee for Islamic Banking

Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has constituted the Committee for the implementation of the recommendations of the Steering Committee for the promotion of Islamic Banking here today.

Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Finance Secretary, Secretary Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights, Chairman Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FB), Mr. Saeed Ahmad (Currently Deputy Governor, SBP), Dr. Imran Usmani, Chairman Pakistan Banks Association (PBA), President Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI), Joint Secretary (IF), Finance Division (Secretary of the Committee) will be members of the committee.

 
September 07, 2016 (PR No. 1782)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of ECC

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet here at the Prime Minister’s office on Tuesday morning.

In order to facilitate the employees of PSM on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha, ECC considered and approved two months salaries amounting to Rs. 760 million for the employees of Pakistan Steel Mills. The salaries will be paid before Eid as directed by the Chair.

For the retired PSM employees the provision for Gratuity fund and Provident fund amounting to Rs.322.021 million was also approved by ECC. The Gratuity payment to the retired Steel Mill employees was due since April 2013 and Provident Fund since April 2015. The meeting was informed that all the payments on both these accounts are cleared before the above mentioned period.

ECC also approved the proposal by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, allowing PSO to proceed for finalizing the Addendum to the existing product sale and purchase contract with Kuwait Petroleum Corporation for supply of furnace oil and jet fuel with the direction to make efforts to improve the payment terms.

For the upcoming SAARC conference and other future events, ECC also approved the exemption from all taxes and duties on the import of armoured and security vehicles for international dignitaries.

 
September 07, 2016 (PR No. 1781)

Finance Minister has taken a strong exception to the statement of PTI Chairman

Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has taken a strong exception to the statement of PTI, Chairman, Mr. Imran Khan wherein he has levelled serious allegations against the Chairman FBR. The Minister for Finance termed the allegations as totally false and fabricated as Mr. Imran Khan has not provided any evidence to support his allegations. Chairman FBR is known for his hard work, integrity and honesty, the Minister said. It is unfortunate that without any evidence, Mr. Imran Khan has attempted to tarnish the image of an officer who has shown remarkable performance in revenue collection in Pakistan which has increased by 60% in three years of PML(N) government as opposed to 3.38% growth for year 2012-13.

The Minister further stated that such baseless statements and allegations can only lead to demoralizing the employees of the FBR and affect efficiency of the organization. The Minister expressed full confidence in the team leadership of the FBR and expressed the hope that before levelling such unfounded allegations. Mr. Imran Khan will consider the adverse impact of such statements not only on the individual’s reputation but also on national institutions.

 
September 06, 2016 (PR No. 1780)

Chairman, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Air Marshal Arshad Malik called on Finance Minister

Chairman, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Air Marshal Arshad Malik called on Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today.

The Chairman brief the Minister about matters related to Pakistan Aeronautical Complex as well as the interest taken by some countries to buy products from Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.

The Minister appreciated the role of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in economic development of the country and expressed his satisfaction that Pakistan Aeronautical Complex was producing high quality products.

The meeting was attend by officials of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and Finance Ministry.
 
September 06, 2016 (PR No. 1779)

delegation of K Electric met with Finance Minister

A delegation of K Electric led by Omar Lodhi Head of Abraaj Asia met the Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today. Minister for Water and Power and Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources were present on the occasion.

Finance Minister was briefed about the planned investment by Shanghai Electric in the company. The meeting was informed that the new investment will strengthen the distribution network and result in improvement in the electricity transmission and generation infrastructure in Karachi.

The Finance Minister welcomed the participation of new investors and expressed his support and cooperation to all efforts aimed at providing better services to the people of Karachi.
 
September 06, 2016 (PR No. 1778)

Pakistan's Ambassador to Afghanistan called on Finance Minister

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Syed Ibrar Hussain called on Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today.

The Ambassador briefed the Minister about situation in Afghanistan discussed prospects of Afghan investment in Pakistan. He explained the trade scenario with Afghanistan and suggested measures for increase in bilateral trade.

The Minister asked to formally initiate proposals regarding increasing Afghan investment in Pakistan and promoting bilateral trade further and hoped that bilateral economic and trade relations between the two brotherly countries will further strengthen.
 
September 06, 2016 (PR No. 1777)

Clarification of Federal Board of Revenue

It has been reported in various newspapers that the rate of sales tax on petroleum product, specially diesel and motor spirit (super petrol) has been increased with effect from 1st September, 2016.

In this respect, it is clarified that since January, 2015, in view of falling petroleum prices in the international market, the government has been adjusting sales tax rates on petroleum products to rationalize the revenue stream as well as the consumer prices. This practice was also adopted in many countries to protect the tax revenues which were falling due to linkage with the prices. In Pakistan, however, public interest was given due priority and as a result Pakistan has the lowest petroleum prices in the region.

If per litre impact of sales tax is considered, the present-day sales tax per litre is generally much lower as compared to the level in April 2013. The comparison is given below:

Prices per litre (Rs./litre)

Month

Motor spirit (Super)

HSD
(Diesel)

HOBC

Kerosene

Light Diesel Oil

April, 2013

14.86

15.78

19.18

14.28

13.55

September,  2016

10.71

19.00

12.86

2.06

4.64

 
September 06, 2016 (PR No. 1776)

Country Director ADB called on Finance Minister

Country Director Asian Development Bank Mr. Werner Leipach called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar this evening at the Finance Ministry.

The Finance Minister was briefed about development on country operation Business Plan (COBP), Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) creation of Disaster Management Fund (DMF) and preparation for upcoming meeting.

The Country Operation Business Plan (COBP) will be extended over 2017-2019. The COBP contains the indicative resource allocations and pipeline projects for the next three years. The plan is reviewed and up dated every year on rolling basis. The total allocations for the plan stands at US$ 5910 million. The prominent sectors covered in the plan are Energy, Transport, Disaster Management, water and Urban Services, Agriculture and Infrastructure Financing. The plan will benefit Federal Government, provinces, AJK/FATA/GB.

Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) is plan aimed enhancing at connectivity with Economic Transformation. The meeting of the stakeholders, representatives from CAREC countries, development partners is schedule in October 2016 at Islamabad. The purpose of the meeting is to showcase success, identify gaps/challenges and to incentivise private sector involvement and financing partnerships. Pakistan is planning to enhance facilities and provide Technical Assistance to member countries.

The Finance Minister was also briefed about National Disaster Risk Management Fund. The Fund will be operationalized through a broad based stakeholder General Body. The funding from ADB will be US$ 1 billion with GOP share of US$ 250 million. The funding will come through 4 tranches of US$ 250 million each year from ADB. Australia, Belgium, Norway and Japan are also sighted as prospective donors.

The Minister appreciated role of ADB as a development partner and expressed satisfaction over broader contours of the plans presented before him in the meeting  

The meeting was attended by officials of the ADB and Ministry of Finance.
 
September 05, 2016 (PR No. 1775)

Finance Minister appreciated SBP role in economic management

Senator Muhammed Ishaq Dar, Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization, showed his satisfaction over the progress made in the economy and successful completion of the IMF program. He lauded the team work between Ministry of Finance and SBP. SBP has played a very constructive role in the successful completion of the IMF program meeting the performance criterion and carrying out reforms agreed under the program, Senator Dar said.   He was addressing a meeting of senior management of the SBP attended by the Governor Mr. Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, Deputy Governor Financial Markets, Islamic Banking and Special Initiatives Mr. Saeed Ahmed, Deputy Governor Policy Mr. Riaz Riazuddin and executive directors of the Bank.

The Finance Minister expressed his comfort on the smooth working of the financial markets particularly in the backdrop of the launch of electronic Import Form (I-Form) effective 1st September, 2016.  He said that the implementation of I-Form will help significantly in proper documentation of imports and deter pilferages.  He advised that there should be no delay in the implementation of the scheme; however, any deserving case should be looked at individually.

While appreciating the efforts made by SBP in spreading the Islamic Banking services in the country, the Finance Minister reiterated his government’s strong commitment towards promotion of Islamic banking in the country.  He termed the announcement of the high level Implementation Committee at the World Islamic Finance Forum arranged by the Center of Excellence in Islamic Finance of IBA (CEIF-IBA) as a milestone in promotion of Islamic banking and finance in Pakistan.  He also stated that efforts made by SBP in spearheading Financial Inclusion Strategy would benefit the deprived sector of the society and help alleviate poverty.

Earlier, the Governor thanked the finance minister for his visit and said that the progress of the economy essentially reflects good coordination between the government and various state institutions. SBP is always prepared to contribute as much as possible in the inclusive economic growth and shared prosperity, the Governor said.

 
September 05, 2016 (PR No. 1774)

speech of the Finance Minister at Seminar on draft Companies Bill, 2016

Download FM Speech

 
September 05, 2016 (PR No. 1773)

Speech of the Finance Minister at the World Islamic Finance Forum

Download FM Speech

 
September 03, 2016 (PR No. 1772)

Chairman SECP briefed Finance Minister on the progress regarding the divestment of shareholding of PSX

The Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) along with senior members of his team briefed the Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, on the progress regarding the divestment of shareholding of Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX).

The Minister was updatedon the various discussions held between the SECP and the divestment committee of the Exchange and future steps to be taken for the timely and smooth divestment of PSX shareholding. The Minister was earlier in a meeting last week briefed on the overwhelming response received from foreign and local institutions against the expression of interest invited by PSX, which were being scrutinized by the SECP. The honorable Finance Minister while communicated his full support to the various market developmental measures being undertaken by the SECPfor the organized development of the capital market reiterated that while finalizing the divestment national interest should be kept supreme.

Additionally, the Finance Minister was briefed on the proposed road map for further development of capital markets in the country. Different models for raising funds for undertaking infrastructure projects in the country were also discussed. Finance Minister was also briefed on same important conference being planned by SECP in the coming months.

Finance Minister appreciated the role of SECP in development of capital markets and expressed his full support for its initiatives.

The meeting was attended by senior officers of the Ministry of Finance and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

 
September 02, 2016 (PR No. 1771)

Finance Minister received a phone call from US Deputy Secretary of Treasury

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar received a phone call from US Deputy Secretary of Treasury (equivalent to Deputy Finance Minister) Ms Sarah Bloom Raskin here today.

Secretary Raskin thanked Finance Minister for Pakistan's support for re-election of Dr Jim Yong Kim as President of the World Bank Group for another five year term. Minister Dar informed her that the World Bank and Dr Kim had been partners of Pakistan in key infrastructure projects. He added that Dr Kim had an impressive performance for global economic revival, development and poverty alleviation and therefore Pakistan was the first country to propose his re-election.

Secretary Raskin also congratulated Finance Minister on Pakistan's completion of IMF 's 3-year Extended Fund Facility Program. Minister Dar thanked Secretary Raskin for her support and encouragement during the IMF program.

Finance Minister Dar also informed Secretary Raskin that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had declared Pakistan compliant with its systems and had invited Pakistan to sign its Multilateral Convention on Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. He added that he would be signing the convention in the presence of Secretary General OECD in Paris on 14 September 2016. This signing, he added, had been duly authorized and approved by the Federal Cabinet.

Secretary Raskin congratulated the Finance Minister on this achievement saying "it was wonderful news" and complimented this "great breakthrough" which, she said, would greatly benefit Pakistan.
Both Ministers also agreed to hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the upcoming annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF in Washington in October 2016.

Finance Minister also renewed his invitation to Secretary Raskin to undertake a visit to Pakistan and informed her that IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and President Asian Development Bank Mr Nakao were scheduled to visit Pakistan in October 2016.

 
September 02, 2016 (PR No. 1770)

Turkish Delegation called on Finance Minister

A delegation of Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board, led by Mr. Omer Cihad Vardan called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here at the Finance Division.

The delegation thanked the Government of Pakistan for its support for Turkey in crucial time. The people of Turkey and we really appreciate the support and the moral stance taken by the Government of Pakistan passed through a difficult time in favor of the people and government of Turkey”, said Mr.Vardan.

The Minister welcomed the guests and said that Turkey has been a long standing friend and the People and the Government of Pakistan really support the democratic set up in Turkey. The Minister also said that the good relations between the two countries will continue to grow stronger in future also.

The delegation also discussed with the Minister the possibilities of enhancing the cooperation in the areas of bilateral trade and in this respect the delegation shared that Turkey has excellent skills and technology in the field of construction, textile and transportation business. All these skills can benefit both countries in the maximum possible way. The delegation briefed the Minister that the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board extends cooperation to other countries through Business Councils working in127 countries of the World and they would like to introduce the business community of Turkey to Pakistan and vice versa. The delegation emphasized that they could look into opportunities of joint ventures in Pakistan.

The Finance Minister appreciated the efforts of the delegation for the promotion of trade and business opportunities between the countries and said that Pakistan will happily become a investment part of any joint venture started by Turkey for the benefit of both economies.

The meeting was attended by senior members of the Ministry of Finance.
 
September 02, 2016 (PR No. 1769)

Ambassador of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ali Alizada called on Finance Minister

The Ambassador of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ali Alizada called on Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar at the Finance Minister, today.

The Finance Minister informed the Ambassador that Pakistan value relationship with Azerbaijan. Both countries have love and affection for each other. He appreciated the hospitality and warmth of the people and President of Azerbaijan during his visit last year. The Minister said that Pakistan wants to expand relations with Azerbaijan in the field of defence and energy. He said the volume of trade can go up manifold. The Minister expressed satisfaction over the ongoing negotiations between two countries especially in the field of energy and bilateral trade.

The Ambassador said Pakistan is a strong and important country. Azerbaijan gives importance to relationship with Pakistan. The Ambassador said that Azerbaijan is interested in textile import, and energy projects, with Pakistan.

The Finance Minister assured facilitation and cooperation for the trade. The Ambassador also appreciated Pakistan’s supportive role at multilateral fore.

The meeting was attended by senior officers of Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Division.
 
September 01, 2016 (PR No. 1768)

Delegation from Sialkot Chambers of Commerce called on Finance Minister

A delegation of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by Khawaja Masood Akhtar called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar this afternoon at the Finance Division. Khwaja M.Asif, the Federal Minister for Water and Power also accompanied the delegation.

The delegation thanked the Finance Minister for clearing up the refunds to the exporters that were long overdue and bringing the exporter community out of their liquidity crunch. The delegation also appreciated the Government for offering export refinance facility on the lowest rates to ease out the exporters. “These efforts speak volumes about the interest the current government is taking to boost the exports in the country” said the trade representative.

The Minister welcomed the traders and said that it is the aim of the government to help and facilitate the exporters in all possible ways. The Minister also assured them that soon another large tranche of the remaining export refunds will be cleared.

The delegation put forward certain valuable suggestions for increasing the exports of the country and also shared with the Minister the problems they had been facing in transactions with the banking sector. The Minister welcomed the suggestions and assured the delegation that any help which the government could provide to facilitate in banking operations will be provided in collaboration with the banking sector.

With all the help and support offered by the government, the businessmen pledged to make every effort to increase the volume of exports from the country.
 
August 31, 2016 (PR No. 1767)

Chinese delegation called on Finance Minister

The Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar was called upon by Mr. Wang Shaofeng, Executive Vice President and Mr. Sheng Shendong, Deputy CEO/ Chief Representative in Pakistan of Three Gorges South Asia Investment Limited, a Chinese company here in Islamabad. The Director General FWO Maj General Mohammad Afzal was also present in the meeting.

The Chinese Delegation expressed gratitude to the Minister for the facilitation in their work in Pakistan. The Minister appreciated their work and hinted at further possibilities of cooperation between Pakistan and China, parallel to CPEC. The Minister discussed possibilities of china working on mega hydel projects in Pakistan.

 
August 31, 2016 (PR No. 1766)

Speaker Legislative Assembly of Azad Jammu & Kashmirm called on Finance Minister

Speaker, Legislative Assembly of Azad Jammu & Kashmirm Shah Ghulam Qadir, called on Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today.

The Speaker apprised the Federal Minister about work on developmental projects in Neelam Valley, Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The Speaker also apprised about the work completed on projects in energy, communication and health sectors.

The Federal Finance Minister reiterated government's resolve to develop Azad Jammu and Kashmir. He said there will be visible decrease in load shedding in 2017.

The Minister assured expediting work on health and communication sector projects.

The Speaker thanked the Minister for government's attention and giving priority to Azad Jammu and Kashmir developmental projects.

 
August 31, 2016 (PR No. 1765)

Finance Minister witnessed the signing ceremony of four agreements worth US$ 650 million with the World Bank

Finance Minister senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar witnessed the signing ceremony of four agreements worth US$ 650 million with the World Bank today to support projects in Education, Health, Water and Disaster sectors.

Mr. Tariq Bajwa, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division signed the Financing Agreements on behalf of Government of Pakistan while representatives of Governments of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan signed the Project Agreements on behalf of their respective Governments. Mr. Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Director, World Bank, signed the agreements on behalf of the World Bank.

Finance Minister thanked World Bank for their support, while Country Director, World Bank appreciated Pakistan’s progress in economic reform and stabilization, especially over the last three years.

The details of the agreements are as under:

i.      Balochistan Integrated Water Resources Management & Development Project – US$ 200 million:

The project development objectives are to strengthen provincial government capacity for water resources monitoring and management and to improve community based water management for targeted irrigation schemes in Balochistan. This project consists of the following components:

Component 1: Institutions, Capacity and Information
Component 2: Water Infrastructure and Management Investment
Component 3: Project Management & Technical Assistance

ii.    Third Punjab Education Sector Project (PESP-III) – US$ 300 million:

The objective of the project is to support Punjab to improve school participation, completion and teaching-learning practices with a particular focus on Low Performing Districts. The project consists of the following parts:

Part 1: Improved Access, Quality and Education System Management
Part 2: Capacity Building, Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation

iii.   Sindh Resilience Project – US$ 100 million:

The objectives of the project are to mitigate flood and drought risks in selected areas and to strengthen Sindh’s capacity to manage natural disasters. This project consists of the following components:

Component 1: Strengthening Disaster and Climate Risk Management
Component 2: Improving Infrastructure and Systems for Resilience
Component 3: Contingent Emergency Response

iv.   National Immunization Support Project (NISP) – US$ 50 million, Multi-Donor Trust Fund Grant of US$ 39.68 million (the MDTF Grant) for NISP:

The objective of the project is to increase the equitable coverage of services for immunization against Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPD), including poliomyelitis, for children between 0 and 23 months in Pakistan. The project consists of following parts:-
Component1: Strengthening Management, Governance and Stewardship Functions.
Component 2: Improving Service Delivery Performance
Component 3: Demand Generation
Component 4: Vaccine Supply Chain
Component 5: Improving Capacity for Increased Immunization Coverage

On the occasion, the Finance Minister also said that he hopes that the completion of these projects will add to the general welfare of the public as promised by the government.

 
August 30, 2016 (PR No. 1764)

Finance Minister met with World Bank delegation

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar held a meeting with a World Bank delegation led by Country Director for Pakistan, Mr. Patchamuthu Illangovan to discuss the reform initiatives under process in the current financial year.

The World Bank Country Director discussed with the Finance Minister the proposed World Bank assistance package to be made available to Pakistan under Development Policy Credit for economic growth.

The Minister was briefed about the proposed prior actions for availing the credit limit for the current year. The Minister apprised the World Bank team of the government’s reform agenda. Both sides agreed to speed up the reforms process that will bring economic efficiency and transparency in the system.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of Ministry of Finance, EAD and World Bank.

 
August 30, 2016 (PR No. 1763)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting of Bi-Annual monitoring of NFC

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the Bi-Annual monitoring of National Finance Commission for the period July to December 2015 here at the Finance Division.

Secretary Finance Dr. waqar Masood Khan, briefed the meeting on the data compiled by the NFC Secretariat for the period under review.

Secretary Finance briefed the meeting that the total collections through FBR receipts stood at Rs.1448.79 billion in the 1st half of the 2015-16. Straight transfers to the provinces on account of Royalty on Natural Gas, Gas Development Surcharge, Royalty on Crude oil, Excise Duty on Natural Gas stood at Rs. 50.43 billion.

Provincial share in divisible pool taxes was Rs.412.79 billion for Punjab, Rs 195.86 billion for Sindh, Rs.116.64 billion for KP and Rs. 72.52 billion for Balochistan. KP and Balochistan were additionally paid Rs. 14.02 billion and Rs. 5.47 billion respectively on account of War on Terror and additionality.

The meeting was also briefed that no objection has been raised by any province on financial figures.

After thorough discussion, the draft report was approved for laying before both Houses of the Parliament as well as the provincial Assemblies.

The Finance Minister also gave approval for holding the meeting of the monitoring of NFC Award on quarterly basis. The next meeting is expected to be held in October 2016.

The meeting was attended by Ms. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Finance Minister Punjab, Syed Murad Ali Shah, CM/Finance Minister Sindh, Muzzafar Said, Finance Minister KP, Mr Akbar Durrani, Secretary Finance Balochistan and senior officials of the Finance Ministries of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan KPK and Finance Divsion.

 
August 30, 2016 (PR No. 1762)

Finance Minister witnessed the signing ceremony between the Govt. of Pakistan and ADB

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, witnessed the signing ceremony between the Government of Pakistan and Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a Loan agreement of US $ 197.85 million for Sindh Provincial Roads Improvement Project here today.

The loan agreement was signed by Asian Development Bank’s Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Mr. Werner E. Liepach and Secretary Economic Affairs Division Mr. Tariq Bajwa.

Speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister thanked ADB for providing vital support to Pakistan particularly in the transport, energy and irrigation sectors. He assured Pakistan’s commitment to mobilize all possible resources for improving and developing transport sector and inter-provincial linkages for enhanced local connectivity. He mentioned that connectivity will generate economic activity for the progress of people of Sindh.

The project will help in rehabilitation and upgradation of roads in Sindh, particularly in Sanghar, Mirpur Khas, Badin, and Kashmore districts. In addition, it will also serve to strengthen the institutional capacity of Works and Services Department, Government of Sindh in project management, road planning and maintenance as well as in ensuring road safety.

 
August 29, 2016 (PR No. 1761)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of ECC

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet here at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat on Monday evening.

ECC considered and approved the export of 100,000 metric tons Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) on the recommendation of the Fertilizer Review Committee, chaired by Secretary Ministry of Industries and Production. The Committee observed that there was sufficient quantity of CAN available in the country and allowed its export subject to the condition that manufacturers would not increases domestic price and would provide an end user certificate that CAN would be used for agriculture purposes only.

In order to discourage the import of wheat in the country, ECC approved the proposal sent by Ministry of National Food Security and Research to increase the regulatory duty on the import of wheat from 40% to 60%. The decision was taken to protect the local farmers from the impact of falling international wheat prices.

The ECC also approved extension of reduced withholding tax rate of 0.4% for non- filers under Section 236P of Income Tax ordinance 2001 up to 31 December, 2016.

The ECC also granted approval for initiation of negotiation between BankMarkazi Jomhouri Islamic Iran and State Bank of Pakistan on signing of Agreement regarding Banking and Payment Arrangements (BPA).

Further, the ECC gave approval for reducing relending rate of foreign loans / for Federal Government Department, like NLC, Civil Aviation Authority etc, Autonomous bodies, and DFIs by 3 percent as compared with the relending rate approved in the Relending Policy of 2009. The ECC also decided that the relending policy would again review after a period of 3 years.

Finally, on a previous summary presented by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research seeking approval for import of 25,000 metric tons of gram pulse, the ECC considered a report submitted by Chairman Board of Investment and decided that the Federal Government should not intervene and the Provincial Governments may be advised to fix retail prices and force those through food inspectors. Further, permission was given for scoping tenders by TCP.

 
August 29, 2016 (PR No. 1760)

Talking points of the Finance Minister on CPEC Expo

CPEC SUMMIT - PLENARY SESSION IV

Excellencies, distinguished delegates

  • I am pleased to preside the Plenary Session IV of the CPEC summit and expo
  • Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform needs to be commended for organizing this wonderful summit and expo.
  • This summit has provided an excellent opportunity for exchange of ideas and enabling stakeholders to exchange information with foreign guests
  • I am sure that this summit will contribute to a better understanding of CPEC and improving coordination between various stakeholders for effective implementation of various efforts
  • I am pleased to observe representation from all provinces
  • Pakistan's progress has been excellent during the last three years. W
  • e have highest level of forex reserves and Pakistan is going to be the second choicest place for foreign direct investment soon.
  • Pakistan is not what it was in 2013, in 2016 pakistan has changed and the world is ready to do business with us.
  • This summit and expo will familiarize the distinguished participants with CPEC, its background, plans and progress
  • In this session, focus has been on highlighting the issue of inclusive development in the context of CPEC
  • There is no doubt that CPEC is going to benefit all the regions of Pakistan
  • Today we learnt from the leadership of all provinces and regions how they envision CPEC's contribution to sub-regional socio-economic development
  • I firmly believe that CPEC will set our country on the road to economic development and growth
  • The fruits of this development will be shared amongst all the regions of Pakistan
  • For example, around US $35 bio worth of energy projects are envisaged under CPEC. The electricity generated from these projects would be included in the national grid for the benefit of the people of the entire country
  • Likewise, the road infrastructure being set up will benefit all parts of Pakistan
  • I wish the participants best of luck and success in promotion of CPEC for inclusive development of Pakistan encompassing all regions of the country
  • I wish great success not only to the summit and expo but to the CPEC as a whole
  • I hope that Pakistani and Chinese businessmen will avail this opportunity to lay the foundation for more meaningful engagements for cooperation and investment
  • We must all get together for a stronger and more stable Pakistan through inclusive growth and development
 
August 29, 2016 (PR No. 1759)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting avoidance of double taxation

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here to review various matters of the Federal Board of Revenue. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Mr. Haroon Akhtar was also present.

Chairman Federal Board of Revenue briefed the Finance Minister on the progress of negotiations on the issue of input tax adjustment with the provinces. He also apprised the Finance Minister about the bilateral Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation with Switzerland as well as Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance on Tax Matters with the 34-member international body Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Finance Minister appreciated the work done by Federal Board of Revenue on above matters and desired that the Federal Cabinet be briefed about both the Conventions / Agreements.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of Ministry of Finance as well as Federal Board of Revenue.

 
August 29, 2016 (PR No. 1758)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of National Executive Committee (NEC) on Anti Money Laundering

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the 9th meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) on Anti Money Laundering here today. Law Minister Mr Zahid Hamid and Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Mr Sartaj Aziz were also present.

Finance Minister was briefed by the Director General of Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) on the progress of the implementation of decisions taken in the 8th meeting as well as the preparations for the upcoming meeting of the Asia Pacific Group in United States in September 2016. He was also briefed about the progress on National Risk Assessment as well as plans for Pakistan's Mutual Evaluation due in 2018. The meeting also reviewed in detail the working of the FMU and appreciated the work being done by it in the field of anti money laundering.

Finance Minister stated that the problems of money laundering and terrorist financing are global problems and have to be tackled globally through cooperation and strict preventive measures. Pakistan, he added, had strengthened its domestic laws so as to prevent such crimes. He stated that Pakistan now had a fully functional AML / CFT regime which was equipped with legal and operational capabilities to meet international obligations. He assured all stakeholders of government's full support in their efforts to combat money laundering.

The meeting was attended by Governor State Bank of Pakistan as well as senior officials of Ministry of Finance, Federal Board of Revenue, State Bank of Pakistan and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

 
August 27, 2016 (PR No. 1757)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the progress regarding the divestment of shareholding of PSX

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today chaired a meeting to review the progress regarding the divestment of shareholding of Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX).

The Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) briefed the Minister and informed him about the overwhelming response received from foreign and local institutions against the Expression of Interest (EoI) invited by PSX. The Finance Minister was briefed tha the received EoIs are currently being scrutinized by the SECP which will be followed by the due diligence, bidding process etc.

The SECP has held detailed consultative sessions with senior market professionals and experts who have endorsed institutional shareholding structure for the stock exchange, including local and foreign investors. This is expected to bring in the desired international expertise, technology, improved governance at the Board level and create international linkages for attracting foreign investment. The local institutional participation will assist in enhanced capital market outreach, local market knowledge and overall objective of the government for financial inclusion.

The Finance Minister expressed his satisfaction over the divestment process being facilitated by the SECP and advised that the national interest should be kept supreme. He emphasized on the process to be completed speedily and with complete transparency. He mentioned that with growing economic activity and business friendly policies of the government the capital market of the country possesses the potential of emerging as a regional investment hub. He further emphasized that all necessary reforms be put in place to facilitate the market to grow to its full potential so that the benefits can be passed on to the economy. Finance Minister assured the government’s full support to the SECP in its reform initiatives.

The meeting was attended by senior officers of the Ministry of Finance and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

 
August 27, 2016 (PR No. 1756)

Finance Minister held a meeting with a delegation of Frontier Works Organization (FWO)

Federal Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar held a meeting with a delegation of Frontier Works Organization (FWO) here today.

Director General FWO Maj General Muhammad Afzal briefed the Finance Minister on the projects being undertaken by the FWO. The DG FWO informed the Finance Minister that FWO had the capacity and human resource to successfully undertake construction related mega projects in the country.

The Finance Minister reviewed progress on the ongoing projects of FWO especially in the energy and transport sectors and appreciated the role of FWO in the national development.

The Minister assured DG FWO of all possible facilitation in financing of the projects as FWO was playing a crucial role in the national development. The meeting was attended by senior officers of the Ministry of Finance.

 
August 27, 2016 (PR No. 1755)

Finance Minister of Sri Lanka, Mr Ravi Karunanayake, called on Finance Minister

Finance Minister of Sri Lanka, Mr Ravi Karunanayake, called on Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today. Mr Karunanayake was in Islamabad as head of Sri Lankan delegation which attended the 8th meeting of the SAARC Finance Ministers.

Mr Karunanayake congratulated the Finance Minister on successful hosting of the SAARC Finance Ministers meeting and stated that decisions reached in the meeting would further strengthen the SAARC process. He also appreciated the exceptional economic performance of Pakistan over the past three years and said that Pakistan's economy was now closely followed the world over and particularly in the South Asian region. The South Asian countries, he added, could learn a lot from the reform efforts in Pakistan which had not only stabilized the economy in a short span of time but put it on a firm growth path.

Finance Minister Dar appreciated the gesture of Mr Karunanayake to attend the SAARC Finance Ministers meeting personally. His presence in Islamabad, he said, was a proof of the close bilateral relations between the two countries. Minister Dar added that there was tremendous scope in further strengthening the economic and trade relations between the two countries and assured full cooperation of the government of Pakistan in this endeavour.

Mr Karunanayake thanked Minister Dar for the hospitality extended to him and his delegation during their visit to Pakistan The meeting was attended by senior officers of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 
August 26, 2016 (PR No. 1754)

Report of the 8th SAARC Finance Minister's Conference 26-8-2016

Download Report of SAARC Finance Minister's Conference 2016

 
August 26, 2016 (PR No. 1753)

Speech of the Finance Minister on 8th Meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers

Honorable Ministers,
Secretary General SAARC
Distinguished delegates, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to welcome the honorable Ministers, Secretaries and other delegates from SAARC Member States and SAARC Secretary General and his staff in Islamabad and wish you a very pleasant and comfortable stay. Let me also express my gratitude for electing me as the Chairman of the Eighth Meeting of the SAARC Finance Ministers. I would try my utmost, with kind cooperation of Your Excellencies, in taking this meeting to a successful conclusion.

Distinguished delegates,        

Since its inception, SAARC has made considerable progress in the areas related to economic and social areas for the uplift of the peoples of the South Asian region. A range of mechanisms have supplemented the overall cooperation in economic and financial sectors among the Member States to achieve South Asian Economic Union (SAEU) in a phased and planned manner through a Free Trade Area, a Customs Union, a Common Market, and a Common Economic and Monetary Union. The concerted and time-bound efforts at SAARC platform are the only way to get the masses of the South Asian region out of the clutches of poverty and hunger. In all such efforts, the role of Finance Ministers of SAARC Member States is central. Seven rounds of the SAARC Finance Ministers Meeting have successfully been held, so far. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our unfinished agenda that includes, the SAARC Limited Multilateral Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, SAARC Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investment, Harmonization of Customs Procedures and Documentation, establishment of SAARC Development Bank, proposal to allow for greater flow of financial capital and intra-regional long-term investment and recommendations of SAARC-ADB Study on Regional Economic Integration(Phase-II), is delaying the process of intra-regional and inter-regional integration of the South Asian region. All the aforementioned subjects need special attention of this forum to move ahead in consonance with the global economic and financial architecture. Keeping in view the interests of the Least Developed, Land-locked, and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in SAARC, the progress on all the pending areas is imperative.

Excellencies,

I am sure that today we will come up with concrete recommendations on steps to ultimate goal of the South Asian Economic Union that would provide a viable way of getting the peoples of our region out of poverty and would give a new push to the multifaceted regional cooperation. The recommendations would be submitted to our leaders for their consideration, who are scheduled to meet at the 19th SAARC Summit to be held on 9-10 November this year, in Islamabad. The valuable cooperation of Excellency Ministers and Secretary General will be key to successful conclusion of this meeting.

Thank You

 
August 26, 2016 (PR No. 1752)

Welcome Address by the Finance Minister at Eighth Meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers

Honourable Chief Guest, the Prime Minister of Pakistan,
Honourable Ministers from SAARC Member States,
Respectable Cabinet Members of Pakistan
Honourable Secretary General of SAARC,
Secretaries from SAARC Countries,
Excellencies and distinguished delegates,
and Good Morning

It is great honour for me to welcome you all to the Eighth Meeting of the SAARC Finance Ministers, in Islamabad. It gives us great pleasure to have your Excellencies as our distinguished guests. I am extremely grateful to the Honourable Prime Minister of Pakistan for gracing this event with his presence.

Excellencies,

South Asia is a region with countless opportunities and vast potential to meet the growth requirements of its peoples.  The assets of the region, among others, include vast fertile lands, deep seas, large mountain ranges, high peaks and a huge youth bulge. The region needs joint strategies and convergence of commonalities among the SAARC Member States to exploit its resources for the economic and social uplift of our peoples. There is a need for a focused attention on shared goals by the national governments to realize the dream of the South Asian Economic Union. The individual efforts by the SAARC member states at national level, we believe, will complement the overall target of the South Asian Economic Union.

Excellencies,

Our leaders have been continuously emphasizing the importance of enhancing cooperation in trade, investment, finance, energy, infrastructure and connectivity among the SAARC Member States. The summits have been directing early implementation of projects, programmes and activities in a prioritized, result-oriented and time-bound manner, for regional integration. For this purpose, several mechanisms have been established to deepen the economic integration of the region and we are, now, moving from South Asian Free Trade Area to South Asian Economic Union.

Excellencies,

          Since the last meeting of the SAARC Finance Ministers in Kathmandu in 2015, significant headway has been made in regional collaboration in the areas related to economic and financial cooperation among the Member States. There is, however, a need to intensify the efforts on reduction or removal of Non-Tariff and Para Tariff Barriers, trade facilitation measures, investment cooperation, reduction of products in sensitive lists, SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services, improvement in connectivity, energy cooperation, harmonization and simplification of customs procedures and Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investment to achieve our goal of the betterment of the people of the region. The mechanisms that function for cooperation in financial sector among the SAARC Member States including SAARC Finance Secretaries Meeting, SAARCFINANCE-Central Banks Governors, Inter-Governmental Expert Group on Financial Issues, Public Debt Forum, Expert Group on Capital Market, Meeting of Competent Authorities on Double Taxation and Sub-Group on Investment and Arbitration need to redouble their efforts to achieve the target of South Asian Economic Union. Early operalization of Economic and Infrastructure Windows and maximizing the benefits of Social Window of the SAARC Development Fund would play a vital role in ongoing efforts for region’s development.

Excellencies,

Pakistan has been contributing to the collective regional efforts to make the region free of hunger, poverty, illiteracy and other social evils. It owns the SAARC process, takes active part in its mechanisms and is desirous to see SAARC as a successful regional organization. At national level, a number of initiatives have been taken in furthering the goals of close regional integration.

Excellencies,

          Let me take this opportunity to convey my deep appreciations of the efforts of the Finance Secretaries of the Member States, who have put in their fullest to formulate their recommendations for the Ministers Meeting. I would also like to also acknowledge and recognize the commitment and readiness of the Honourable Ministers to participate in the meeting. I hope we will be focusing on core issues, today, and would come up with practical and time bound recommendations that would be submitted for the considerations of our leaders during the upcoming SAARC Summit to be held on 9-10 November 2016 in Islamabad.

Once again, I welcome all the honorable Ministers, SAARC Secretary General, Secretaries and other delegates from SAARC Member States in Islamabad and hope that they would enjoy their stay in Islamabad.

Thank you

 
August 25, 2016 (PR No. 1751)

Finance Minister supported Dr. Kim for his re-election as World Bank President

The Federal Minister for Finance has appreciated the support of the World Bank and its President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim in the development projects of Pakistan.

The Finance Minister said “The World Bank has been a very close development partner for Pakistan in the recent years. In particular, during the last three years, the World Bank has assisted Pakistan in structural reforms of various sectors. Pakistan appreciates the World Bank and President Dr Jim Yong Kim for being partners in key infrastructure projects in energy sector as well as in energy and growth related reforms since year 2013.”

Acknowledging the services of Dr. Kim the Minister said, “Pakistan has found in Dr Kim a close friend and supporter of growth initiatives in the country. His term ends in June 2017 and the nomination process for the election of next World Bank President has virtually begun. In view of the impressive performance of Dr Kim for global economic revival, development and poverty alleviation, Pakistan proposes that Dr Kim be re-elected as President for another five year term".

 
August 25, 2016 (PR No. 1750)

Finance Minister chaired the 7th meeting of the Steering Committee on the development of Integrated Transit Trade Management System (ITTMS)

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the 7th meeting of the Steering Committee on the development of Integrated Transit Trade Management System (ITTMS) here at the Finance Division.

The Minister reviewed the progress on the decisions taken in the sixth meeting as well as current situation of the project.

Chairman FBR, Nisar M. Khan briefed the Finance Minister that they are on an advanced stage of finalizing the lease agreement for land acquisition at Torkham and Wagha.

Secretary EAD, Mr. Tariq Bajwa also briefed the Steering Committee that in case of completion of civil and other works under the project, all contracts have been awarded through international competitive bidding, in line with ADB guidelines.

The Minister expressed satisfaction on the progress of the work so far completed and issued directions to expedite the progress on the remaining work. The Minister also said that the completion of this project will make Pakistan the “Trade and Transit” hub of Central and South Asia.

The Finance Minister further directed that in case any difficulty arises in the completion of the project, his help and support will be available in every possible manner.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of Finance Ministry, EAD, FBR and Commerce Ministry.

 
August 25, 2016 (PR No. 1749)

8th SAARC Finance Secretaries Conference

The 8th SAARC Finance Secretaries meeting took place in Islamabad today, Arjun Bahadur Thapa, Secretary General SAARC started the inaugural session with a welcome address to the participants.

Secretary Finance Dr. Waqar Massoud Khan was elected as the new Chairman of the SAARC Finance Secretaries meeting. Mr. Thapa thanked the Government of Pakistan for organizing the event in Pakistan and that too in an excellent manner.

In his address to the participants, Mr.Thapa, laid special emphasis on moving from South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) to South Asian Economic Union (SAEU), focus on customs-related trade facilitation measures, finalizing the draft on SAARC Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investment, implementation of SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services (SATIS), Avoidance of Double Taxation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters and Transactions in Local Currencies.

After assuming the charge as the new chairman of the SAARC Finance Secretaries meeting, Secretary Finance Division, Dr.Waqar Massoud Khan said “Though, considerable progress has been made in some areas under the ambit of this meeting, many of the issues still need prioritized attention by the national governments. A lot of progress is still due on the Regional Economic Integration Study (Phase-II). There is need to focus on the priority areas as indentified by SAARC-ADB meetings that include Reduction and Removal of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and Para-Tariff Barriers (PTBs), Energy Cooperation, Trade Facilitation Measures, Investment Cooperation, Reduction on products in the Sensitive Lists, SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services (SATIS) and Improvement in Connectivity (rail, road, air, maritime) among Member States. The mechanism of the Special Meeting of SAARC-ADB, with the technical and financial support of ADB, is good to fine tune the prioritized areas as indicated in the Regional Economic Integration Study, with an aim to attain the target of the South Asian Economic Union.”

At the end of the meeting Dr. Waqar Massoud thanked the members of all delegations and said that the recommendations of the meeting will be submitted for consideration of the SAARC Finance Minister’s meeting tomorrow. He also hoped that the meeting will prove more useful than the earlier meetings of the SAARC member states.

The following participated the conference:

Afghanistan Mustafa Aria
Director AID Management
Ministry of Finance
Bangladesh Mr. Mohammed Yousuf
Joint Secretary
Bhutan Dasho Nim Dorji, Finance Secretary
India H.E Shaktikanta Das
Secretary Economic Affairs Govt. of India
Maldives Ms. Aishath Fazla
Nepal Mr. Baikuntha Aryal, Joint Secretary,
Ministry of Finance
Sri Lanka Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga,
Secretary
SAARC Secretariat H.E.Mr. Arjun Bahadur Thapa,
Secretary General
SAARC Development Fund Dr. Sunil Motiwal

 

 
August 24, 2016 (PR No. 1748)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee

The National Price Monitoring Committee meeting was held on 24 August, 2016 in Finance Division under the Chairmanship of Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics, and Privatization.

The meeting was attended by the representatives from the Provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhthunkhwa, Islamabad Capital Territory, Ministries of Industries, Law and Justice, Commerce, National Food Security and Research, Interior, Planning Development and Reforms, Inter Provincial Coordination, Statistics Division, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Utilities Stores Corporation and Federal Board of Revenue.

The meeting was informed that the headline inflation measured by CPI has been contained at 2.86% in FY 2016 as compared to 8.62% in FY 2014 and 4.53% in FY 2015. The inflation recorded in FY 2016 is the lowest in 47 years. The CPI in July 2016 inched to 4.1% as compared to 1.9% in July last year.

The meeting noted the weekly trend of SPI which monitors the prices of 53 items since July 2015 and found that prices of more than 50 percent items are stable. The meeting noted the price movement of essential items and observed that the prices of Wheat Flour, Rice Basmati Broken, Rice Irri-6, Chicken, Eggs, Cooking Oil, Vegetable Ghee (tin and loose), Bananas, Moong Pulse and Onion decreased as compared to last year while the prices of Wheat, Beef, Mutton, Milk Fresh, Powdered Milk, Mash Pulse, Gram Pulse, Sugar, Red Chillies and Garlic increased. The meeting noted that the prices of poultry have declined as compared to last year and are now stable on account of government supportive policies.

The Minister showed concern on the increasing trend in prices of milk powder and advised CCP to look into the matter to eliminate undue profit margin. The rising trend of potatoes prices was also discussed in the meeting and the Minister urged the provincial governments to be more vigilant to control the prices and concerned federal ministries to take necessary measures in this regard and stressed to catch this issue right now so that the prices may not rise further. He also urged that we should look into the canning of tomatoe paste when the prices of tomatoes are lower so there remains continuous supply of tomatoes products in the market. He also advised CCP to examine the increasing meat and mutton prices trend and bring up the findings in the next meeting so that corrective measures are taken. The increasing trend in prices of pulses was also observed by the Minister and he advised Ministry of Food Security and Research to expedite the process to increase the supply of pulses in the market to arrest the rising trend in prices.

The meeting also reviewed the prices in sasta bazaar and open market and noted that the prices are much lower in sasta bazaar as compared to open market. The Minister urged that the people should benefit from these bazars.

The meeting also reviewed the regional price comparison of Twenty two (22) essential commodities among Islamabad, New Delhi and Dhaka and observed that the prices of nine (9) items which include wheat, wheat flour, chicken farm, petrol, diesel, rice basmati, vegetable ghee, moong and mash pulses are lower in Pakistan as compared to New Delhi and Dhaka, while nine items (9) including beef, tomatoes, eggs, Milk fresh, sugar, mutton, red chillies, onion and gram pulse are second lowest and only five (5) items such as potatoes, masoor pulse, DAP, tea and urea are higher.

The meeting also noted international prices movement of essential commodities and found no abnormal price behaviour.

 
August 24, 2016 (PR No. 1747)

Finance Division is hosting 8th meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers' at Islamabad on August 26, 2016

Finance Division, Government of Pakistan is hosting 8th meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers’ at Islamabad on August 26, 2016. The meeting will be preceded by the 8th meeting of SAARC Finance Secretaries on August 25, 2016. Pakistan has invited all SAARC member states including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The Prime Minister of Pakistan has very kindly consented to grace the inaugural session of the Ministerial meeting of August 26, 2016. All the member states have confirmed the participation in the meeting. Pakistan will provide local hospitality to all the delegates of the member states.

The meeting will review the updated implementation status of different activities being carried out in the region under SAARC mechanism including custom cooperation, avoidance of double taxation, promotion and protection of investment, cooperation in the banking sector, and trade liberalization, etc. and will recommend measures to enhance regional cooperation in order to move fast towards South Asian Economic Union. The outcome of these meetings will complement the agenda of the upcoming 9th SAARC Summit to be hosted by Pakistan in Islamabad on November 9-10, 2016.

 
August 22, 2016 (PR No. 1746)

Ms. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Finance Minister of Punjab, called on Finance Minister

Ms. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, the Finance Minister of Punjab, called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here at the Finance Division, along with her team to discuss financial matters related to the Government of Punjab.

The issues of Input tax adjustment and net hydel profits were discussed. The Finance Minister advised that the Finance Ministry of Punjab may take up the issue of net hydel profits with the Ministry of Water and Power and WAPDA. In case any facilitation is needed in this regard, they may approach Ministry of Finance.

On the issue of Input tax adjustment, the Minister directed FBR to hold discussion with the provinces on input tax adjustment so that the matter could be amicably resolved with the provinces at the earliest.

 
August 22, 2016 (PR No. 1745)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the targets for World Bank's next Development Policy Credit

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division to review the targets for World Bank’s next Development Policy Credit which will be available to Pakistan in the current financial year.

Secretary Finance briefed the Minister on the list of achievable objectives with the expected date for their completion.

The Finance Minister reviewing the agenda for DPC, commented that the targets are achievable as they are our home grown reform agenda. The Minister further directed his team to expedite the process of coordination among the different Ministries to complete the reform agenda on time so as to avail the credit line made available on easy terms.

 
August 22, 2016 (PR No. 1744)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC)

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) here at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.

ECNEC considered and approved Balochistan Integrated Water Resource Management and Development Project (BIWRMDP) at the updated cost of Rs.22, 165 million. The project is highly important as it is located on Nari and Porali River Basins. The project will cover almost one fourth of the Balochistan area and will provide multiple benefits to the people of Balochistan like; providing clean drinking water facility, reducing the risk of floods, less erosion, more fuel wood, more fodder for livestock and saving endangered forests for mangroves and juniper and enhanced agriculture productivity. The project was found essential for water sector of Balochistan as it aims at vital requirement like hydro-meteorological installations, flood protection works and institutional capacity building. The project cost also includes US$ 200 million as foreign aid from IDA. The project will take 6 years to complete.

ECNEC considered and approved the Lowari Road Tunnel and Access Road Project at the revised cost of Rs.26, 855 million. The project is expected to complete by October 2017. The revision of cost is the result of the increase in the scope of work of the project which includes the increase in the width of the tunnel from 6 meter to 7.5 meter with clear height of 5 meters. The scope of work also includes provision of ventilation and electrical works for road tunnel, construction of platforms, operational buildings along with allied facilities, installations and equipment for snow clearing. The cost of the project also includes FEC of Rs.5870 million. NHA will be the executing authority for the project.

Equally important and related to Lowari Tunnel project, “Improvement and widening of N-45 (130.22 KM) Project” also got approval from ECNEC at the revised cost of Rs.17, 423 million. The project is located at Chakdara, Timergara, Akhagram, Dir Kalkatak, Chitral. Both Lowari Tunnel project and N-45 project will prove to be a strategic asset for Pakistan. These will go a long way in development of the area and providing better facilities to the public.

Another project in KP which was approved is Construction of Burhan _ Havelian Expressway (E-35) 59.1 km (Revised) at the revised PC cost of Rs.34,165.million. The project is expected to be completed by September 2017. The cost of the project is revised due to addition of 3rd lane on either side of the already ongoing project for construction of 59.1 km limited access controlled four lane divided facility/ motorway with service roads on either side along a new alignment with allied structures/ facilities. The revised project is being funded through ADB loan of US$200 million. ADB also agreed to provide remaining loan amount for additional scope of work.

The Finance Minister of KP, Mr. Muzafar Said, on the occasion thanked the Government of PM Nawaz Sharif for expediting work on the projects as they are of vital importance to the province.

ECNEC also considered and approved “Installation of Ship lift and Transfer System and Associated Machinery and Equipment to provide Docking and repair Facilities to surface Ships, Submarines and Commercial Vessels” at Karachi Shipyard at the revised and rationalized cost of Rs.9563 million including FEC of Rs.3,644 million. The facility will cater to commercial vessels up to 7781 tons of dead weight net lifting capacity along with establishment of 13 fully equipped repair stations. The project will be completed by September 2017 as it is already in progress.

ECNEC also approved construction of Lahore –Sialkot Motorway (89km) at the total cost of 45,382 million rupees. The project will complete in 27 months (September 2016 to December 2018). The project envisages construction of 89 Km, 4-lanes access controlled motorway with 0.6 m New Jersey Barrier as median with allied facilities. The project will be operated on BOT basis.

ECNEC also approved “Procurement of 75 Diesel Electric Locomotives (DEL)” at the total cost of 45,496 million with FEC of 31,729.490 million rupees. These will be completely built units (CBU) used for operation in freight/ passenger operations.

 
August 20, 2016 (PR No. 1743)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting with FBR to review the process for sales tax refunds promised in budget 2016

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division with the Federal Board of Revenue to review the process for sales tax refunds promised in budget 2016.

SA to PM on Revenue Haroon Akhtar and Chairman FBR discussed with the Minister the current position of the sales tax refunds and their breakup in different sectors.

It was decided that those claims in respect of which refund payment orders (RPO) had been issued till April 30th 2016 would be finalized by 23rd August 2016. Claims where RPOs were issued up to 30th June 2016 would be considered and finalized later.

The Finance Minister directed that every effort should be made to facilitate the business community, including exporters. He expressed the hope that finalization of sales tax refunds would help in increasing the business activity in the country.

The meeting was also attended by senior officials of Federal Board of Revenue and Ministry of Finance.

 
August 18, 2016 (PR No. 1742)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting of ECC

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet here at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.

ECC considered and approved the sale of imported Urea available at the National Fertilizer Marketing Limited (NFML) at Rs.1310 per 50 kg bag.

On the proposal brought by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and coordination, ECC gave approval to the exemption from customs duty and sales tax on import of Salter scales for Lady Health Workers Program. UNICEF has provided $1.3 million available under the Gavi HSS-I fund which will be utilized to purchase approximately 38000 Scales and other equipment to be provided across the country to help children affected by stunting. Stunting can be addressed with growth monitoring and nutritional advice during the first three years of a child.

ECC also granted exemption from tax and duties for import of machinery and equipment/ construction materials to NHA for infrastructure projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

As a step towards cleaner environment and better engine hygiene, ECC allowed the introduction of 92 Research Octane Number (RON) premium motor gasoline (petrol) in Pakistan. Currently the country was using 87 RON premium which is almost abandoned by the world. The new arrangement will be effective from the next cycle of PSO tender in this year. The new cleaner and efficient fuel will have lower emissions. OGRA will monitor the price as was the case in RON 87 PMG.

 
August 17, 2016 (PR No. 1741)

Finance Minister directed FBR to facilitate businessmen community

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here with the officials of the Federal Board of Revenue. SA to PM on Revenue Mr. Haroon Akhtar was also present in the meeting.

Discussion was held on Input Tax Adjustment in Sales Tax which was disallowed through Finance Act 2016.

Chairman FBR Nisar Mohammad Khan briefed the Finance Minister about the difficulties and issues being faced by the businessmen due to amendment in Federal sales Tax Act.

The Finance Minister directed FBR to engage with the provinces so that the issues are resolved within a week so that in case there is a need the amendment made through Finance Act 2016 may then be reconsidered. He stated that the Government should remove the difficulties faced by the businessmen and every effort should be made to facilitate them.

The meeting was participated by the senior officials of FBR and Finance Division.

 
August 17, 2016 (PR No. 1740)

Citigroup delegation called on Finance Minister

A delegation of Citigroup, led by CEO Middle East and Africa, Mr. Atiq-ur-Rehman, called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Wednesday.

Mr. Atiq-ur-Rehman congratulated the Finance Minister on successfully completing the IMF program and leading the country towards an economic turnaround and growth. He said that Pakistan’s economy is performing much better than many Middle Eastern and African countries. He also said that Pakistan has become an important country in the emerging markets and the world is developing an appetite for investment opportunities available in Pakistan. Pakistan has shown outstanding performance in all the significant development and economic indicators in the recent years, he added.

The delegation discussed with the Finance Minister possible options for increasing foreign investment in the country as the improved security situation and the better rating by the international institutions has made Pakistan a favorable investment destination.

The Finance Minister shared with the Citigroup delegation Government’s determination to increase foreign investment in the country and achieving even higher growth rates in the next two years. He asked the Citigroup team to analyze various options to attract investment in the country.

The Finance Minister thanked the Citigroup for its support to Pakistan in overcoming financial difficulties. The meeting was participated by senior officials of Ministry of Finance.

 
August 17, 2016 (PR No. 1739)

Finance Minister met with Governor State Bank

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar held a meeting here at the Finance Division with the Governor State Bank of Pakistan Mr.Ashraf Mahmood Wathra.

The State Bank Governor briefed the Finance Minister about the crackdown against illegal currency business as well as illegal exchange companies. Various other measures were approved in the meeting to make the crackdown more effective.

The Finance Minister directed that every effort should be made to stop illegal activities in the currency and exchange markets.

The meeting was participated by senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and the State Bank of Pakistan.

 
August 16, 2016 (PR No. 1738)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting on the implementation status of budget 2016

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohamamd Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division to review the performance of the Finance Division.

The meeting was briefed in detail by Secretary Finance Dr. Waqar Massoud Khan on the implementation of the announcements made in the budget 2016. The participants were also briefed on the overall strategy of the government to reduce the fiscal deficit and to achieve the growth targets.

The meeting also reviewed the domestic and foreign financing of various projects being undertaken.

The Minister directed that every effort should be made to continue the reforms agenda and to ensure financial discipline in the country. The Minister also emphasized the need for making top class arrangements for the upcoming SAARC Finance Minister’s meeting and directed close coordination with relevant Ministries and organizations in this regard.

The meeting was attended by the senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.

 
August 16, 2016 (PR No. 1737)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting on projects funded by development partners

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here with the Economic Affairs Division to review the financial progress on the foreign funded projects.

Secretary EAD Tariq Bajwa, briefed the Minister on different projects started with financing from Asian Development Bank, World Bank and other multinational and bilateral donors. He also briefed the Minister on projects in the current as well as next year.

The Finance Minister directed Economic Affairs Division to follow a strict discipline and high standards while dealing with the multinational donors and development partners.

The Minister expressed overall satisfaction on the work being done by the Economic Affairs Division.

The meeting was participated by senior officials of the Finance Ministry and Economic Affairs Divisions.

 
August 13, 2016 (PR No. 1736)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting on the external financing of the budget operations

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar Chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division to review the status of external financing of the budget operations.

The Minister was briefed in detail on the current status of the financial inflows and outflows. Projections of expected foreign exchange inflows during the next few months were presented to the Minister.

The Minister expressed satisfaction on the overall state of foreign financing during the current year. He said that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves are at a comfortable level. He directed Finance Division to focus on the most economical sources of financing, keeping in view the improved economic outlook of the country.

 
August 13, 2016 (PR No. 1735)

World Bank Country Director for Pakistan called on Finance Minister

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar held a meeting with the World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, Mr. Patchamuthu Illangovan to discuss the upcoming reform initiatives of the Government.

The World Bank Director congratulated the Finance Minister on completing the IMF program successfully. The completion of this program is a major milestone, he said.

The Finance Minister said the government has successfully implemented its reform agenda during the last three years and the process will continue in future as well. The financial discipline introduces and strictly followed by the government will continue to be observed. The Journey will not just stop here, we will continue to improve our financial management and God willing will make this country one of the choicest place for foreign direct investment.

The World Bank country director also discussed with the Finance Minister the Proposed World Bank Plan for the overall assistance package to be made available to Pakistan under IDA and Development policy credit system for economic growth.

The Finance Minister thanked the World Bank team for assisting Pakistan on its road to development. He said that the support and assistance received from the World Bank for the economic reform program was much appreciated.

The meeting was participated by senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank team.

 
August 13, 2016 (PR No. 1734)

Finance Minister reviewed preparations for the upcoming SAARC Finance Minister's Conference

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division to review the arrangements for the upcoming SAARC Finance Minster’s conference to be hosted at Islamabad on 25th & 26th of August.

Officials of the Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs gave presentations to the participants of the meeting on the overall plan to conduct the Finance Minister’s Conference in Islamabad in the last week of August. Details of the arrangements made for this conference were shared with the participants.

The Finance Minister expressed satisfaction on the arrangements made so far and directed that the relevant Ministries and departments should ensure maximum coordination to make befitting arrangements for the conference. The Minister said that all the countries in the SAARC region have a lot of potential to develop together utilizing each other’s potentials and energies. The cooperation is necessary for promoting the welfare and improving the quality of life of the peoples of the region and the upcoming conference would be an important event in this regard.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cabinet and Aviation Divisions.

 
August 12, 2016 (PR No. 1733)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting of Law Review Committee

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting of the Laws Review Committee at the Finance Division here this evening.

The meeting considered the proposed law on the Prohibition of Benami Transactions, which was introduced in the National Assembly sometimes back. The meeting discussed the progress made so far in this regard and expressed satisfaction on the same.

The Bill seeks to provide for prohibition of holding property in benami form and to restrict the right to recover or transfer such property and other matters related to the benami transactions.

Federal Minister for Law, Zahid Hamid, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid, Minister of State for Information Technology, Anusha Rehman Khan, Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law, Barrister Zafarullah Khan and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Khwaja Zaheer Ahmed attended the meeting.

 
August 11, 2016 (PR No. 1732)

Japanese Ambassador called on Finance Minister

Mr. Takashi Kurai, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan called on the Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Thursday.

Mr. Kurai congratulated the Finance Minister on the successful completion of the recent IMF Extended Fund Facility Program. He shared that the completion of the IMF Program is indicative of the reforms that Pakistan has undertaken and this is highly appreciated by the Japanese institutions and it will bode well for future investment prospects in Pakistan.

The Finance Minister appreciated the positive sentiments of the Japanese Ambassador for Pakistan and said that Pakistan has been moving ahead on the growth trajectory and there are more bench marks to be achieved. The completion of the recent program is the historic achievement and will lead to the growing international confidence in economic stablility achieved by Pakistan.

During the meeting, the ambassador was briefed on projects which are in the pipeline and can be considered for mutual co-operation and Japanese economic assistance.

The meeting was attended by the Secretary EAD, Secretary Water & Power and high officials of Finance Ministry.

 
August 11, 2016 (PR No. 1731)

Afghan Ambassador Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal called on Finance Minister

Afghan Ambassador Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal called on Finance Minister here on Thursday.

He expressed deep sense of grief and sorrow over the sad incident that occurred in Quetta, resulting in loss of precious lives besides inflicting injuries on a number of others.

The Minister appreciated the clarification given by the Afghan Ambassador on the holding of Pakistani currency in Afghanistan. The Finance Minister said that both sides need to focus more on the enhancement of bilateral trade and commerce.

The Afghan Ambassador discussed with the Finance Minister on the possibility of finding new avenues of trade with Afghanistan for further strengthening of economic ties between the two countries. According to the Afghan Ambassador Pakistan has an added advantage for investing in the food processing industry of Afghanistan as the people in Pakistan understand the choices of the local population better than any other regional entrepreneur.

The Finance Minister said that it is the desire of the present government to render all possible assistance and support to the Afghan Government and he looks forward to build further on the economic and cultural relations between the two countries.

 
August 10, 2016 (PR No. 1730)

British Minister for International Development (DFID), Ms. Priti Patel, made a telephone call to Finance Minister

The newly appointed British Minister for International Development (DFID), Ms. Priti Patel, made a telephone call to the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar this morning and felicitated the Finance Minister for achieving economic turnaround of the country.

Referring to the longstanding relationship with Britain, the Finance Minister said “Great Britain and Pakistan enjoy long standing political, economic and social ties. The British Government has continued to make significant contributions to development in Pakistan over the years”.

Acknowledging DFID’s support for Pakistan, the Finance Minister said “DFID is currently providing support to Pakistan in priority areas of education, poverty alleviation, financial inclusion, nutrition and social welfare. We are not only keen to maintain this level of DFID’s commitment but are also looking forward to taking it to the next level under your able leadership.”

Ms. Patel thanked the Finance Minister for his good wishes and said that it is an integral part of her new role to improve further the level of cooperation with friendly countries, including Pakistan. She also added that she is committed to further build on the strong relationship established during the tenure of her predecessor Ms. Justin Greening. She also expressed the desire to meet the Finance Minister during the Annual Meetings of the IMF/World Bank scheduled for October this year.

The Finance Minister said that the Government of Pakistan and the Ministry of Finance is looking forward to working closely with DFID in future and invited her for an early visit to Pakistan. The Finance Minister also expressed hope that with Ms. Patel in office there would be greater cooperation between Britain and Pakistan.

 
August 09, 2016 (PR No. 1729)

Finance Minister witnessed the signing Ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding between Customs Department and the State Bank of Pakistan

The Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar today witnessed the signing Ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding between Customs Department and the State Bank of Pakistan for operationalizing electronic I-Form at the FBR headquarters.

The use of I-Form will curb the menace of under-invoicing and transfer pricing in addition to integrating the foreign exchange accounting system of the SBP with Customs clearances.

Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar on this occasion appreciated the efforts of the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Mr. Haroon Akhtar, Chairman FBR Nisar Mohammad Khan and Governor State Bank Mr. Ashraf Mehmood Wathra for excellent coordination resulting in the signing of the MoU and Operationalization of the I-Form.

The Finance Minister said that under the leadership of PM Nawaz Sharif the PML-N Government had successfully implemented a number of reforms and the process will continue in the future as well. Pakistan’s economy has taken off and the merger of Stock Exchange, Pakistan’s return to the international bond market and successful completion of a very tough IMF programme are proofs of the same. He stated that for the first time in history, Pakistan has successfully completed IMF’s Extended Fund Facility programme.

The Finance Minister further stated that when he assumed charge, the foreign exchange reserves were not even enough to finance two weeks’ of import bill but by the grace of Allah, now the foreign exchange reserves are enough to finance around five months of the import bill. He said that for the first time, foreign exchange reserves with the SBP have crossed $ 18 billion. He pointed to the confidence of the foreign investors in the economy by pointing to the FDI inflows in livestock and refrigeration industry.

The Minister for Finance stated that the real goal of the government of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is to consolidate the economy and not let the economic gains go waste. He lauded the efforts of FBR in over achieving the target of revenue in last fiscal year and asked the FBR team to work even harder for achieving current year’s target.

Speaking on the occasion the Chairman FBR Mr. Nisar Muhammad Khan welcomed the Finance Minister and stated that there has been excellent coordination between Customs Department and State Bank of Pakistan which has resulted in the automation of the issuance of electronic I-Form. He thanked the Minister for the support and encouragement to both the Departments which made automation of Customs business process possible.

Mr Ashraf Wathra, Governor, State Bank of Pakistan recalled that such automation and coordination between the two departments of government could only be seen in the advanced countries but Pakistan is setting new parameters under the leadership of Prime Minister and Finance Minister in working towards greater national goals.

Mr Haroon Akhtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue informed the meeting that the economy is revived and moving in the right direction. He assured that FBR will work even harder in the future to meet the expectations of the government of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

After the meeting Chairman FBR and Governor SBP signed the Memorandum of Understanding operationalizing the Electronic I-Form.

 
August 08, 2016 (PR No. 1728)

Finance Minister had a telephonic conversation with Afghan Ambassador Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar had a telephonic conversation with Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal.

Among other matters, they discussed the recent reports of ban on the holding of Pakistani Currency in Afghanistan. Mr. Zakhilwal stated that the situation is not as reported and there is no ban on holding Pakistani Currency in Afghanistan and that it is freely convertible.

Subsequent to the telephonic conversation, the Afghan ambassador issued a statement in which he stated: “For clarification, as per our Central Bank's Law, regular transactions in all foreign currencies, except our own currency - the Afghani, are not allowed; it is now more strictly enforced. However, no foreign currency without exception is disallowed to be freely convertible in our Money Exchange Markets anywhere in our country. This is essentially the same practice in every other country and certain media reports with a particular different portrayal are therefore misleading.”

The Finance Minister has appreciated the clarification and expressed hope that it will facilitate the business activity between the two countries.

 
August 08, 2016 (PR No. 1727)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting of the Laws Review Committee

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the Laws Review Committee here today The meeting reviewed progress on different draft laws that have been placed before the Parliament for enactment as well as matters relating to other legislation in the offing including legislation required to be carried out in the joint sitting of the Parliament.

The Committee was briefed on the progress of the Draft Companies Bill 2016, which has been finalized by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). The meeting also discussed the progress regarding devising a mechanism for making appropriate improvements and amendments with regard to future legislation.

The objective of committee which meets regularly is to review the laws with a view to identifying anomalies and ambiguities, as well as to bring them at par with the contemporary requirements.

Federal Minister for Climate Change, Zahid Hamid, Minister of State for IT, Anusha Rehman Khan, SAPM on Law, Barrister Zafarullah and SAPM Khwaja Zaheer Ahmad attended the meeting.

 
August 08, 2016 (PR No. 1726)

Finance Minister Condemn Quetta Blast

 

August 05, 2016 (PR No. 1725)

Finance Minister felicitated the Competition Commission

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has felicitated the Competition Commission on having been awarded a 3- star rating in the annual ranking of the World’s top antitrust and competition authorities by the Global Competition Review (GCR).

In a message to the Chairperson of the Commission Ms. Vadiyya Khalil, the Finance Minister said that the improvement of ranking by the GCR is an evidence of the international confidence and trust in the policies pursued by the Commission for ensuring fair competition, transparency and good governance.

Finance Minister said that the economic turnaround achieved during the last three years has been possible due to the economic reforms, which have strengthened public sector institutions, including those performing a regulatory function. He said that good governance and transparency would remain a hallmark of the present government.

He said that the economic team of the government must continue to strive to achieve higher levels of performance in line with the guidelines of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

It may be recalled that Global Competition Review has granted the Competition Commission of Pakistan a 3 star rating, bringing it at par with the competition authorities of Turkey, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Singapore, Poland, New Zealand, Mexico and Austria.

Pakistan and India are the only two countries from South Asia to have been included in the Rating Enforcement 2016, with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) being downgraded to a 2-star rating.

 
August 04, 2016 (PR No. 1724)

Joint Press Conference of Finance Minister and IMF Mission Chief on successful completion of Twelfth Review under IMF Extended Fund Facility Program

1.   Pakistan and the IMF have successfully completed negotiations on the Twelfth and final Review under the 3-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program for an amount of $6.4 billion.

2.   Successful completion of the last Review is indicative of government’s strong commitment in implementing difficult structural reforms in the areas of taxation, energy, monetary/financial sectors and public sector enterprises.

Overall Program Performance

Our performance throughout the program culminating in the Twelfth Review has been highly satisfactory:

3.   We met the end-June 2016 Quantitative Performance Criteria on Net International Reserves, Foreign currency swap/forward position, and government borrowing from SBP by significant margins. The targets on Net Domestic Assets and budget deficit were missed marginally.

4.   The indicative target for end-June, 2016 on targeted cash transfers through BISP and on power sector arrears were met.

5.   FBR not only achieved its annual target of Rs.3104 billion but exceeded it. This indeed is a remarkable achievement as no downward revision was made in FBR revenue targets and the originally fixed target was achieved and exceeded which is an unprecedented accomplishment and speaks of the success of the economic policies being followed by the present Government. The performance of FBR becomes even more creditable when viewed in the context of the shortfall of Rs.40 billion recorded in the first quarter. In the subsequent quarters, the indicative targets were met wiping out the deficit of the first quarter. Against an end-year target of Rs.3104 billion, FBR collected Rs.3115 billion, according to provisional figures, which shows a growth in excess of 20 percent, over Rs.2589 billion collected in FY2015. In the process, the figure of FBR’s tax-to-GDP ratio registered a substantial increase of one percent.

Real

6.   We achieved real GDP growth rate of 4.71 percent in FY 2016, which is the highest in the last 8 years. Since FY 2014, we have maintained GDP growth rate of above 4 percent. For the next fiscal year, GDP growth is targeted at 5.7 percent which will gradually steer to 7 percent in FY 2017.

7.   The industrial sector recorded a growth of 6.8 percent during FY 2016 which is the highest in the last eight years. LSM growth remained robust at 4.61 percent during FY 2016 compared to 3.29 percent last fiscal year. Automobiles registered growth at 23.4 percent followed by Fertilizers 16 percent, Rubber products 11.6 percent, Leather products 12.2 percent, and Chemicals 10 percent, Cement 10.4 percent and its dispatches witnessed uptick by over 17 percent; and there has been a continued credit expansion. A welcome development is the increase in fixed investment. Electricity and gas supplies continued to improve since the start of the current fiscal year. The CPEC will also play a significant role in further boosting economic activities.

8.   The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) has scaled new height of 39,800 index on 01st August, 2016 crossing the highest index achieved previously in August, 2015 indicating robust economic activity and reflecting investor confidence.

9.     Inflation remained contained to less than 3 percent at 2.89 percent during the period FY 2016 as compared to 8.62 percent in FY 2014 and 4.53 percent in FY 2015.

Balance of Payments

10. The external sector is stable on the back of continued flows from IFIs, low oil prices, rising remittances albeit at a slower pace, which helped narrow down the current account deficit and maintained stability in foreign exchange market. The foreign exchange reserves increased to $23 billion as of 22nd July 2016 of which SBP reserves stood at $18.037 billion and that of scheduled banks at $4.960 billion. The net International Reserves of the SBP have increased from a low of negative $2.5 billion at the start of the program to positive $7.5 billion by end-June 2016.

Financial and Fiscal

11. Performance of the banking sector remained steady with higher earnings and robust solvency. The sector has high Return on Assets (RoA) of 2.2 percent and strong Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 16.1 percent, well above the 10.25 percent minimum regulatory requirement.

12. We are continuing with the financial sector reforms agenda for strengthening the legal, regulatory and supervisory framework aimed at safeguarding stability of the financial sector.

13. The budget deficit which stood at over 8 percent of GDP in FY 2013 was brought down to 5.3 percent in FY 2015 and to 4.6 percent in FY 2016. We are also committed to reduce public debt, and lay the foundations for a more sustained growth.

14. Despite the fact that the government is reducing its fiscal deficit, allocation for Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) has more than doubled and social safety net expenditures have increased by over 300 percent through the four budgets of the current government.

15. The ratio of FBR’s tax to GDP has improved significantly over the last three years, from 8.45 percent in FY 2013 to 10.5 percent in FY 2016, which is beyond the projected increase of 10.2 percent for the period.

Social Protection

16. Government is committed to support the poor and the most vulnerable segments of population through BISP. With significant expansion in allocation of BISP cash transfers, which have been enhanced from Rs.40 billion in FY 2013 to Rs.115 billion in FY 2017 increasing the coverage from 3.7 million to 5.46 million families; and income support annual stipend from Rs.12000 to Rs.18800 during this period. The Government has disbursed more than Rs.250 billion to these poorest families during the same period.

17. In partnership with provincial governments, significant progress has been made in rollout of the education-Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) to the targeted needy students. In comparison to 56,000 students in 2013 currently, more than 1.3 million children are beneficiaries of the CCT in 32 districts across the country. We will further expand the total number of children benefitting from the program to 1.6 million by June, 2017. Besides improving the payment mechanisms by introducing the bio-metric based payments, Government has also initiated the National Socio Economic Registry (NSER) update for a more objective and scientific targeting of deserving families.

Debt Management


18. We continue to diversify financing from both domestic and external sources, lengthen the maturity profile of domestic debt and improve the balance between domestic and external debt. To achieve these objectives, we are working to further strengthen the Debt Policy Coordination Office (DPCO). We have appointed the Risk Management staff; and the Medium Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS) has already been published. Rate setting between retail and wholesale markets have also been synchronized.

Energy Sector

19. The Energy sector reforms are on priority agenda of the Government and are regularly monitored by the Prime Minister through the Cabinet Committee on Energy. To implement the reforms:
i.    We are working to reduce energy shortages with special emphasis to ensure sustained supply to industry with the goal of adding over 10,000 MW of electricity to the system by March 2018 along with measures to make the sector self-sustainable in line with the demands of a modern power sector;

ii.    We have added imported Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to the system, which has improved energy supply in the country, especially to the industrial sector, as the import of LNG has doubled to 400 mmcfd.

Business Climate Reforms


20. For improving business climate, we have finalized and put into implementation a new countrywide ease of doing business reform strategy with time bound measures to strengthen business climate and foster private investments.

21. We have developed a comprehensive National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) to implement financial reforms to meet financing needs of the marginalized and unbanked segments of society. The strategy lays particular emphasis on including the female gender into financial inclusion. Under SBP guidelines for opening 'Asaan' Simple and Small Accounts, banks and Microfinance banks have opened more than one million accounts. In addition, over 15 million m-wallets (digital accounts) have been opened in the country.

Public Sector Entities (PSEs) 

22. We are continuously working to reform PSEs focusing on improving performance, reducing losses and improvement in service delivery.

Before closing, I would like to reiterate that Pakistan is committed to successfully implement the macroeconomic stability program announced by the Government in June 2013; and positive achievement in meeting the performance criteria under the Program reflected the seriousness with which the Program is being concluded. It is not only the quantitative targets but also the rich agenda of structural reforms being undertaken with the aim of stabilization of economy and creation of room for faster and inclusive growth, and poverty reduction.

We have successfully completed the negotiations of the last Review. This has been a good team effort from both sides. As we move forward, our effort would be to consolidate the economic gains achieved so far towards macroeconomic stability and work towards higher growth and jobs creation.

I would like to compliment Mr. Harald Finger, the IMF Mission Chief and his team for an outstanding job they have done in conducting the last Quarterly Review.
 
August 02, 2016 (PR No. 1723)

Finance Minister arrived in Dubai to participate in the on-going negotiations with IMF

The Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar arrived in Dubai to participate in the on-going negotiations with International Monetary Fund (IMF) relating to the 12th and last Review under the Fund program.

The minister met with the IMF Mission Chief and its members and received briefings from Pakistan team also.

The Minister expressed satisfaction on the progress of the negotiations and remarked that he was confident that the last review would be successfully concluded. He said this would be a historic occasion, as it would be for the first time that a medium term reforms program supported by IMF would be successfully concluding at the close of its three-year term. The economy has undergone massive transformation during this period. The macroeconomic framework is stable because of rising growth, declining inflation, fiscal consolidation aided by rising tax collections, stable external account and higher reserves.

The Minister further stated that the path of growth and stability would remain the hallmark of economic management after the conclusion of the Fund program as per manifesto of Pakistan Muslim League-N under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

 
August 01, 2016 (PR No. 1722)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting of Laws Review Committee

A meeting of the Laws Review Committee was held at the PM House here today. Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting.

The Committee reviewed the Cyber Crimes Bill, which has been passed by the Senate, with a number of amendments. It was decided that the Bill will be presented to the National Assembly during the current session, for its consideration. The Committee also discussed the impending legislation related to INGOs and decided that the draft be finalized soon, so that the Bill could be presented to the Parliament for enactment.

Members of the committee also had an exchange of views on different proposals for bringing about improvements in the legislative procedures.

Federal Minister for Law, Zahid Hamid, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid, Minister of State for Information Technology, Anusha Rehman Khan, Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law, Barrister Zafarullah Khan attended the meeting.

 
August 01, 2016 (PR No. 1721)

Finance Minister announced the Repeal of Customs Act 1969 in PATA, Kohistan and Malakand Division

In his Policy statement on the floor of the National Assembly, Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar announced the Repeal of Customs Act 1969 in PATA, Kohistan and Malakand Division.

Appreciating the positive step taken by Government for the betterment of the poor people of PATA, the KP members of the National Assembly Dr.Ibad Ullah, Haji Ghulam Ballour, Mohammad Junaid, Abdul Qahar and Sher Akbar Khan thanked the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister for their concern and special favour for the PATA people.

All these members acknowledged the efforts of the Finance Minister that he has accomplished what he has promised during the budget session and that they expect that Government will continue taking steps in the right direction and for the overall well being of the PATA region.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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