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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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