Press Releases/Media
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December 02, 2016 (PR No. 1910)

Asian Development Bank to provide US$ 200 million and Australia to extend grant of AUD 4.5 million for National Disaster Risk Management Fund

Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization witnessed the signing ceremony between the Government of Pakistan and Asian Development Bank (ADB) for Loan Agreement of US$ 200 million and Grant Agreement of Australian Dollar 4.5 million for National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF). The Signing Ceremony was held in the office of Finance Minister.

NDRMF is being established as a public limited company under Section 42 of the Companies Ordinance 2016 for sustainable mechanism and permanent instrument to enhance Pakistan’s resilience to any future disaster. The focus of the Fund is on: (i) disaster risk reduction; (ii) design, development and seeding of disaster risk financing strategies and instruments; and (iii) partnerships with other organizations to provide relief and recovery support, including livelihood restoration initiatives, and reconstruction and rehabilitation of key public infrastructure.

The eventual total outlay of the Fund would be is USD 3 Billion of which ADB will provide USD 1 billion in five tranches. Out of ADB’s total commitment, a loan of USD 200 million has been signed today. The Government of Australia is also providing co-financing grant for this Fund. Apart from ADB and Australia, other donors such as Norway, Belgium and Switzerland have also shown their interest to contribute in the Fund.

Speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister thanked ADB and the Government of Australia for providing support and enabling Government of Pakistan to establish a common window to pool financial resources. This mechanism will serve for alignment of donors’ commitments and GOP financing for disaster management efforts, if God forbid a disaster does take place.  The Minister also said that the participation of our development partners in this noble cause will also inspire organizations around the world to take similar initiatives. He also said that this initiative will strengthen Pakistan’s disaster preparedness efforts.

The Country Director Asian Development Bank stated that this is a trend-setting initiative which would not only mitigate the effects of disaster but would also help cushion the fiscal shock of the catastrophe.

The loan agreement was signed by Mr. Tariq Bajwa, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division and Mr. Werner E. Liepach, Country Director, Asian Development Bank. The High Commissioner of Australia and the representatives of Norway, Japan, Switzerland and European Union were also present on this occasion.

 
December 01, 2016 (PR No. 1909)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the matters related to Pakistan Steel Mills

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here with the Privatization Commission of Pakistan to review the matters related to Pakistan Steel Mills.

Chairman Privatization Commission gave a detailed presentation on matters pertaining to Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and its administration. Secretary Industries and Production informed that the new CEO of PSM has assumed charge and is attending to issues related to administration and finance.

After the presentation, the Finance Minister directed the Privatization Commission and Ministry of Industries and Production to coordinate and suggest measures to resolve the outstanding issues at the Mills.

The Minister said that government is committed to finding a way forward and resolving the issues of PSM. He said that the government is keen to encourage the participation of the private sector in PSM in order to make sure that this asset makes its due contribution to Pakistan’ economy, including through creation of jobs. He highlighted that the government’s commitment to the workers of PSM is demonstrated by the fact that the government paying the salaries to the employees, even when no production is taking place.

Chairman, Privatization Commission, Secretary Industries & Production, Special Assistant to Finance Minister, CEO PSM and other senior officials of Finance Division participated in the meeting.

 
December 01, 2016 (PR No. 1908)

Ambassador of the European Union called on Finance Minister

Mr. Jean Francois Cautain, Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar this evening.

The Minister greeted the Ambassador and said that Pakistan regards the European Union countries as good friends and excellent trade partners as Pakistan’s exports to the region have been multiplied after GSP plus status given to Pakistan. The Minister also said that he hopes that the relationship of Pakistan and European Union will also improve further in future.

The Ambassador thanked the Minister for his warm welcome and said that his stay in Pakistan has been a pleasant experience and as the security situation has improved in the country, tourists from all over the world are showing interest in visiting Pakistan. He said that Pakistan has a great potential to improve tourism, which should be realized by the government.

The EU Ambassador also briefed the Minister that the European Union is preparing to offer an Electoral Reform Package (15 million Euros) to train and assist the Election Commission of Pakistan to manage the next elections in the most efficient and transparent manner. On this the Minister also shared that in Pakistan the Electoral Reforms Committee has also done extensive work with participation from all political parties and wide consultation with the members of the Civil society and it is expected that there will a positive development soon in the introduction of a comprehensive law regarding the electoral process in Pakistan.

The Finance Minister assured the Ambassador that his support and assistance will be available in all possible ways to strengthen the bilateral relations between Pakistan and the European Union.

 
November 30, 2016 (PR No. 1907)

New Petroleum Prices with effect from 1st Dec, 2016

Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources and OGRA have recommended an increase in prices by 6.24% in MS 92 RON Petrol, 7.47% in HSD and6.49% in Kerosene Oil with effect from 1st December 2016.

The increase recommended by OGRA is Rs. 4.01/Litre in MS 92 RON Petrol, Rs. 5.42/Litre in HSD and Rs.2.81/Litre in Kerosene Oil.

In order to maintain stability since April 2016, prices have been maintained despite fluctuation in international prices and the government has been absorbing the negative financial impact as impact of increase was not passed on to the end consumers.

ECC in its meeting dated 18.08.2016 decided to switch over from existing Petrol 87 RON to minimum 92 RON with effect from November 2016 to ensure improved quality product for end users. Petrol 92 RON is of a much higher quality and the new OGRA proposed price reflect the increase in international price as well as premium for a higher quality product.

In keeping with the Prime Minister’s instructions to provide maximum relief to the underprivileged, and keeping in view that Kerosene Oil and LDO is used by the less privileged, it has been decided to maintain the prices of Kerosene and LDO at current level for the month of December 2016.

Therefore against the price increase of Rs. 4.01/Litre in 92 RON Petrol andRs. 5.42/Litre in HSD recommended by OGRA with effect from 1st December 2016, it has been decided to only increase the prices of 92 RON Petrol by Rs.2/Litre and HSD by Rs.2.70/Litre.

The Ministry of Finance will bear the financial impact of approximately Rs 4 billion due to loss of revenue on account of non passage of the OGRA recommended increase in prices to the end consumer.

 
November 30, 2016 (PR No. 1906)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting with the members of the Civil Society

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division with the members of the Civil Society in order to exchange views and take valuable input a step towards Pakistan’s intent to join the Open Government Partnership Initiative.

Secretary EAD, Tariq Bajwa, said that the first meeting today will be a curtain raiser where all the participants together discuss the core principals of the Open Government partnership; accountability, citizen participation, technology and innovation and transparency. The participants will identify barriers and solutions to open government in their areas, with the conversation continuing till we are able to develop a consensus on how to move forward, explore future course of action with timelines to ensure that solutions could be turned into proposed Action Plan commitments for government. These steps will ideally be ambitious, specific time-bound, action oriented and measureable.

Welcoming all the participants in the first discussion on the Open Government Partnership initiative, the Finance Minister said; the Government of Pakistan is committed to the principals of open government, accountability and transparency. The Minister also told the participants that Pakistan is also considering accession to OECD convention on combating bribery which focuses on the supply side of bribery. Recently Pakistan has also become a signatory to the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax matters. It demonstrates Pakistan’s strong commitment to adopt international best practices in the field of tax matters and the multilateral fight against tax evasion through mutual and spontaneous exchange of information.

 The participants from the civil society which belonged to various organizations from different walks of life appreciated the initiative taken by the government to join in multilateral conventions that can help in improving the governance structure. They showed deep interest in cooperating with the government in developing a national action plan to help her in achieving the objectives of this initiative.

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) has grown from eight founding governments to 70. Each OGP government partners with civil society to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to improve governance. OGP has become a global movement of reformers working to make government more effective and responsive to its citizens.

The Finance Minister said that as a beginning, civil society and citizens’ open government action plan priorities are being sought. Today’s meeting is the first engagement of the government of Pakistan with the civil society on OGP and all this would help create Pakistan’s Action Plan by the mid June 2017. The Minister also directed that the next meeting should be held in the 2nd week of January to seek in more input.

 
November 30, 2016 (PR No. 1905)

Strict Action against Forex Smuggling

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohamamd Ishaq Dar chaired a high level meeting today, participated by Secretary Interior, Secretary Finance, Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, DG FIA, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue, Joint -Director Intelligence Bureau and other senior officers concerned and directed all the agencies to take strict measures immediately against criminal elements involved in the smuggling of gold and currency and take them to task as per the country’s law.

 The Finance Minister said that action will be taken against forex and bullion smuggling which is detrimental to the interest of Pakistan. He said that action will also be taken against those who are behind this illegal practice.

He directed FIA, IB, Custom Intelligence and State bank of Pakistan to keep strict vigilance in this regard and all airports and other entry points should be kept under strict surveillance to curb this menace of currency and bullion smuggling.

He again dispelled the rumors about the demonization of Rs.5000 currency notes and withdrawal of Rs. 40,000 prize bonds, freezing of lockers which are being spread by the vested interest to harm the economy of the country. He further said that as clarified earlier, there is no such proposal under consideration of the government.

 
November 30, 2016 (PR No. 1904)

Launching Ceremony of Pakistan Afghanistan Central Asian Republic States (CARS) Trade Summit ("PACTS")

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar was invited as Chief guest at the launch Ceremony of Pakistan Afghanistan Central Asian Republic States (CARs) Trade Summit (“PACTS”) organized by Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry late evening yesterday.

The Finance Minister appreciated the efforts of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry for organizing the summit and congratulated the Rawalpindi Chambers of Commerce and the participants on the launch of PACTS which will help in enhancing trade opportunities for Pakistan with Central Asian states in the region and Afghanistan.

The Finance Minister informed the participants that a Joint Business Council, comprising of leading businessmen from both countries, has also been established to increase business to business interaction. Presently, Pak-Afghan bilateral trade has increased from US$ 1.11 billion in 2005-06 to US$ 1.84 billion in 2015-16.

Exports from Pakistan to Afghanistan have increased from US$ 1.06 billion to US$ 1.43 billion during this period and there is a big potential to enhance this trade, added the Finance Minister.

The Minister also said Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) has been established to monitor effective implementation of the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement 2010. So far, 6 APTTCA meetings have been held. Talking about the potential of the trade between the countries of CARs, the Minister said, 5 Central Asian States, namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with combined GDP of US$ 445 billion and population of 66 million, offer a sizeable market for Pakistan’s goods, services and investment.

On the occasion the Minister also said that Pakistan is now well positioned to play a pivotal role in enhancing economic cooperation with Afghanistan and CARs. Government's economic policies, under leadership of PM, have resulted in macroeconomic stability within two and a half years, contrary to international predictions of five years. Now, the target is higher, sustainable, and inclusive growth.

On the growth forecasts of Pakistan in future the Minister shared with the participants that IMF raised GDP growth forecast for Pakistan for FY 2017 from 4.7% to 5%, and projected GDP growth of 5.5% in FY 2021.ADB raised GDP forecast for Pakistan for 2017 from 4.8% to 5.2%.Harvard University study has projected 5.07% annual GDP growth for Pakistan till 2024.World Bank projected 5% GDP growth for Pakistan in FY 2017 and 5.4% in FY 2018. He reiterated that it is the firm resolve of the government to achieve a higher and more sustainable growth.

The Minister also said that the initiatives like CAREC and CPEC, and Pakistan’s commitment to join in the Ashgabat Agreement and Lapis Lazuli Corridor will further support the CARs trade plans.

The Minister also said that the Government of Pakistan is highly desirous of Peace and stability in Afghanistan and is making serious efforts to help the Afghan government in this regard. “Our region is very rich in economic, human and natural resources; he said that the connectivity of this region will usher in new vistas of prosperity. CPEC is a game changer and we would like other neighbouring countries to take advantage of this project”.

The Minister assured RCCI that the Government will seriously consider their charter of demands presented by the president of RCCI.

At the end of the ceremony which was attended by members of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, business leaders and Ambassadors from different countries, the Finance Minister thanked Raja Amer Iqbal, President, Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Executive Committee of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry for arranging the ceremony and making an effort towards promotion of regional trade and cooperation.

 
November 29, 2016 (PR No. 1903)

Governor SBP called on the Finance Minister to discussed growth of Islamic banking in Pakistan

Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has called for expediting the process of promotion of Islamic Banking in the country. He urged that the existing Islamic Banking products should be promoted and work on the introduction of new products in the market should be prioritized.  The Finance Minister made these remarks in a meeting with the State Bank Governor Mr. Ashraf Mahoood Wathra and Mr. Saeed Ahmad, Deputy Governor State Bank. 

The Minister was briefed on the measures being taken for expansion of the Islamic Banking. Islamic banking in Pakistan has recorded a noticeable growth. The proliferation of Islamic Banking products will provide the citizens of the country with more banking choices. The present government has always sported Islamic Banking and issuance of Sukuks during the last three years is a result of the government’s decision to support and promote Islamic Banking.  

The Finance Minister acknowledged the progress and appreciated the efforts being made in this regard. He emphasized the need for coordination between all stakeholders for implementation of Islamic Banking reforms.  In this regard, a meeting of the Committee for Implementation of Recommendations on the Steering Committee for Promotion of Islamic Banking has also been called by the Finance Minister on December 3, 2016 at the Ministry of Finance.  

 
November 28, 2016 (PR No. 1902)

Finance Minister chaired the 2nd meeting of the 9th National Finance Commission (NFC)

The Federal Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the 2nd meeting of the 9th National Finance Commission (NFC) today in Islamabad. Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, (Finance Minister Punjab),Senator Saleem Mandviwala (Member NFC Sindh), Prof. Muhammad Ibrahim Khan (Member NFC KPK) and Dr. Kaiser Bengali (Member NFC Balochistan) participated in the meeting. Finance Secretaries from the four provinces also participated in the meeting. Federal Finance Secretary, Chairman FBR and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance also attended the meeting.

Chairman, NFC Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar welcomed the participants and gave a brief overview on the structural and reform initiatives taken by the federal government during the last three years.He appreciated the consultations undertaken by the provinces and the federal government in a cordial atmosphere under the ambit of the National Finance Commission. On this occasion Minutes of the first meeting of 9th NFC Award were adopted.

The meetingalso considered and approved the Biannual Monitoring Report of the 7th NFC Award for the period January to June, 2016. Chairman NFC in consensus with representatives of provinces decided that the biannual implementation monitoring report of the 7th NFC Award will be placed before the parliament during the current week as per the constitutional requirement.

The Commission received presentations from the four Working Groups which have been constituted to deliberate on specific areas and prepare recommendations for the 9th NFC Award: namely, Resource Mobilization at Federal and Provincial level (Punjab), Devolved verses Integrated Tax structure-Evaluation of Tax Collection Framework in Pakistan (Sindh), Allocation Efficiency and Expenditure Analysis at the Provincial and Federal level (KPK) and  Rationalization of Subsidy and  Grants (Federal Government). The Commission Members appreciated the work done by the Working Groups which will provide a sound basis for the ongoing deliberations of the Commission for the next NFC Award. The Commission directed to update the reports of the Groups latest by 10th December, 2016.

Senator Ishaq Dar, Chairman NFC thanked all the provincial government representatives and members of NFC for their continued active participation towards finalizing the 9th NFC Award. The Federal and Provincial Governments agreed to achieve the next Award at the earliest and meet regularly. In this regard the Chairman and Members NFC agreed to meet during the third week of December for the next round of consultations.

 
November 26, 2016 (PR No. 1901)

Finance Minister reviewed progress of activities of the Statistics Division

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting to review the progress of the ongoing activities of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) including preparation made by the Bureau for holding of 6th population and housing census in the country.

The Minister showed satisfaction on the preparations made on the civil side for conduct of census. He directed that the Statistics division has to keep close coordination with the Armed Forces to ensure security and credibility in the census operation.

Earlier, the Chief Statistician of PBS gave an overview of the preparations made for holding of census. He also apprised that necessary preparation on civilian side have been completed including release of funds for making logistic arrangements, procurement of hardware and appointment of field staff for census operation.

Chief Statistician briefed the participants that PBS has launched Integrated Agriculture Census as a pilot project on electronic data collection using android technology which is a great shift from paper survey to electronic data processing. He stated that PBS is also launching census of manufacturing industries and first meeting of the technical committee has been held recently to finalize data content. Provincial industries department, labour department and provincial deliberated upon the questionnaire, he added. He also brief about other activities like rebasing of national accounts, updation of rural area frame and digitization of urban blocs.
 
November 26, 2016 (PR No. 1900)

Finance Minister signs Letter of Intent to join Open Government Partnership

Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar while signing the Letter of Intent of the government of Pakistan to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP) said that the PML (N) government remains fully committed to improving governance through bringing in more transparency and integrity in its operations and fight against corruption. He said that this commitment is demonstrated by the fact that, in addition to the government’s initiation of process to join OGP, the Government has already signed the OECD Multilateral Convention on anti-tax evasion in September, 2016. OGP, consisting of 70 participating countries, is a multilateral forum where governments deliberate and work together to promote transparency, fight corruption and strengthen governance through new technologies.

 The Finance Minister said that he has accepted the invitations of United Kingdom and French Governments to attend the 4th biennial OGP Global Summit at Paris from 6 to 8 of December, 2016. The Letter of

Intent has been sent to OGP Secretariat expressing the intention of the Government of Pakistan to join OGP and commitment to respect the open government principles articulated in the Open Government Declaration of the OGP. 

 
November 25, 2016 (PR No. 1899)

President FPCCI appreciates reduction in gas price for Industrial sector

The President of Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Rauf Alam and former President of FPCCI Muzamil Sabri called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today.

 Rauf Alam expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and thanked the Finance Minister for reducing Rs. 200 per MMBTU in the gas price for Industrial sector. He said that this will provide relief to the Industrial sector which is becoming non-competitive in the international market. He further said that this relief will go a long way in solving the problems of the industrial sector and will improve on their productive capacity. 

The Finance Minister said that the Government is committed to address the problems of the Industry as much as possible. He said all efforts are directed to create a congenial working environment for business so that our products could become competitive in the international market. Now it is obligation of the businesses to increase exports and earn the much needed foreign exchange for the country, he urged.

 Rauf Alam invited the Finance Minister in the Annual Export Trophy function which will be held by the FPCCI in Islamabad around mid-December. He said that invitation to the Prime Minister has already been extended for this event as a Chief Guest. 

 
November 25, 2016 (PR No. 1898)

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 this morning.

ECC approved reduction of gas price for Industry from Rs. 600 to 400 per MMBTU. In accordance with Fertilizer Policy 2001, the Industrial Sector gas sale price will also be applicable to Fertilizer sector only for fuel stock. 

ECC considered and approved the Summary presented by the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) regarding exemption of taxes on procurement of furniture and supplies of 15 District Health Units (DHU) and at three colleges located in the 2005 earthquake affected areas in the AJ&K and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The exemption is limited to the transaction SDF grant. Saudi Fund for Development has provided funds through a grant and mandated UNICEF for procurement of furniture and supplies for the reconstruction of these Educational institutions. The exemption has to be obtained from the ECC as the powers to grant exemption through SRO’s have been taken away from FBR/Revenue Division vide Finance Act, 2015.

ECC also accorded approval to the proposal of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research regarding extension in export period of thirty (30) days from the date of approval i.e. 15-06-2016 on the same terms and conditions already approved by the ECC in its meeting on 18 March 2016. The chairman said that the extension is limited for the balance quantity already approved for export for Sindh and Punjab. The Ministry apprised the ECC that the Food Departments of the governments of Sindh and Punjab and All Pakistan Flour Mills Associations and exporters have pleaded for extension as the specified quantity of wheat/wheat flour (Aata) could not be exported within the specified period due to Eid holidays and transportation problems etc. 

ECC was also approached by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to grant extension of thirty days to allow the rebate payment on export of wheat and wheat flour (Aata) i.e. 30th September 2015 to 30 October 2015. 

It was decided that the extension on payment of export rebate would only be available to those exports which have been shipped/transported (GD) on or till 30th September 2015 deadline. The ECC upheld the earlier decision that export of wheat and wheat flour (Aata) made during the period from 1st October,2015 to 12th January, 2016 shall not be entitled for any such support. 

ECC also gave approval to the settlement reached between the Ministry of Water and Power and the Government of Sindh to resolve the issue of outstanding bills of Government of Sindh Departments and HESCO/SEPCO for the period of July 2010 to July 2016. The Government of Sindh will clear the outstanding amount of Rs. 27.398 billion in six equal monthly installments starting from September 2016. In the same decision, the Chair also directed Ministry of Water and Power for installing AMR meters (smart meters) in the area within four months, with 50% of the cost of the installation of meters to be borne by the Government of Sindh so that the issue may be settled on permanent basis.

 
November 24, 2016 (PR No. 1897)

Finance Minister Urges Civilized World to Help Stop Brutalities in IHK

During call on by Ambassador Johannes Matyassy, Assistant Secretary of State for Asia and Pacific, Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs, and Swiss Ambassador in Pakistan Marc P. George and other officials of the Swiss Embassy today, the Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar stressed upon the developed and civilized nations to restrain India from committing atrocities against the defenseless Kashmiri people in the Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir and repeated violations of the Line of Control. He said that Pakistan believes in peaceful co-existence with its neighbours including India, Afghanistan and Iran and is a great believer of regional economic cooperation for the common well-being of the people of the region.  
Talking about Pak-Swiss bilateral relations, the Finance Minister said Switzerland has been a close friend of our country for the past many decades and Pakistan values this relationship. He commended the helpful role of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) which is celebrating its 50 years in Pakistan in 2016.

The Minister shared with the guests that during the last three years the government has shown full commitment to create a congenial environment for foreign direct investment in the country and paid special attention to improving on Ease of Doing for the local and foreign businesses. With the intention on improving on the facilitation strategy, the government has updated the legislation, introduced reforms at various levels to improve efficiency, resultantly; the hard work of the government is paying off in the shape of increased confidence of the international as well as domestic investors.

The Minister said that the recent signing of the OECD convention on tax matters, the successful issue of sukuk in the international markets and the up-gradation of the ratings of Pakistan by the MSCI are proofs of Pakistan finding her place on the international scene. He also mentioned that we expect around 5.5% GDP growth this year and there are predictions of higher growth next year. He said that Pakistan has conducted a successful campaign against extremism and terrorism which has boosted the investors’ confidence in Pakistan. He added that Pakistan has suffered the most in the war against terror and the recent operation zarb-e-Azb has not only enhanced security in Pakistan but would benefit the region as well as the globe.

During his recent visits to many cities in Pakistan, the Assistant Secretary of State for Asia and Pacific, Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs, said that he had a chance to meet a number of businessmen particularly those handling the Swiss companies and they appreciated the improved security situation in Pakistan and bright business opportunities being offered in this country. He stated that twenty one (21) Swiss companies are doing business in Pakistan and they have provided jobs to twenty thousand local workers. He appreciated Pakistan for hosting more than three million Afghan refugees over decades and hoped that Pakistan would work for their repatriation and integration in their own country. He opined  that the Swiss business community eyes CPEC as an excellent business opportunity. He hoped that the bilateral relationship between Switzerland and Pakistan would remain constructive and substantial.

The Swiss Assistant Secretary also stressed for the vitalization of the SAARC forum to address the current regional situation through dialogue.

 
November 23, 2016 (PR No. 1896)

Pakistan to join OGP, an International Forum for Accountability and Transparency

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar addressing the Seminar organized by the SECP at Islamabad today on Companies Bill 2016 paid rich tribute to the Prime Minister and the whole cabinet for supporting his suggestion to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an international forum for more accountability and transparency in government functions. He indicated that government was also keen to join international Convention on Anti-bribery as well. He said that his Ministry has been given the lead role to work out details in this connection.

The Finance Minister said that Pakistan has already signed OECD convention on tax matters to check tax evasion which would be operationalized in early 2018. All these measures vouch Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Governments commitment to usher in transparency and good governance in Pakistan, he maintained. He viewed that these steps would enhance Pakistan image as a sovereign and prestigious country.

Inaugurating the “Swift Incorporation System” under the New Companies’ Ordinance 2016 on the occasion the Minister said “an independent, prosperous and prestigious Pakistan is my dream”. Under the new system companies which apply for the incorporation will be provided the incorporation certificate within the same day. Appreciating the hard work done by the SECP on the new and more efficient system, the Minister said that we are celebrating this day after a long and exhaustive exercise done by SECP.

Talking to the participants of the seminar, the Minister highlighted the importance of updating the Companies law from time to time for incorporating the new developments taking place in the world. He maintained that the New Companies Ordinance has the elements to regulate and facilitate the business in the country. Broad consultation with all the relevant stakeholders has been done and it is a sign of satisfaction that till now no objections have been raised on the New Companies Ordinance 2016, he added. The Finance Minister said that the government is ready to take suggestions from the members of the parliament and business community to bring in valuable changes as the bill has been laid in the parliament for discussion, added the Minister.  He emphasized the need for more such awareness raising seminars for the new law and urged the professional bodies to take the lead in this regard.

Chairman SECP, Mr. Zafar Hijazi said that the New Ordinance lays more emphasis on transparency and information sharing as the new law makes it compulsory to declare beneficial ownership by the directors of the companies. 60,000 notices have been served to the companies all around the country to share the information and this development speaks volumes about the effort made by the SECP under the leadership of the Finance Minister, told Chairman SECP.

Commending the efforts made by SECP for the introduction of the new law Dr. Tariq Hassan said that the comprehensive nature of the law could be gauged from the fact that it encompasses all types of business and trade activity and we hope that this new law will help development of the markets. The alternative dispute resolution system introduced by the New Law will increase the efficiency of the businesses and save the precious time of the courts.

Mr Arif Habib commended the efforts of the Finance Minister and the SECP team in the introduction of this new law. He said that the new law has replaced a 32 year old law which had to be updated according to the requirements of the changing times.

At the end of the Seminar commemorative shields were given by the Finance Minister to Mr. Massoud Naqvi, Mr Arif Habib, Dr. Farooq Hassan and Mr. Haroon Akhtar by the Finance Minister. Chairman SECP presented the shield to the Finance Minister.
 
November 22, 2016 (PR No. 1895)

Finance Minister Directs Implementation of Ease of Doing Business Reforms

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has stressed on the need for ensuring coordination between all stakeholders for implementation of Ease of Doing Business Reform Strategy 2016.  In this regard, he has directed Ministry of Finance to work in close collaboration with other concerned Federal and Provincial Government agencies including Board of Investment, Federal Board of Revenue and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan in making every effort to facilitate the foreign as well as domestic investors and businessmen. He said that Pakistan is increasingly being identified globally as a business and investor friendly country. 

The Finance Minister said that it was gratifying that World Bank in its recently published Doing Business 2017 report has acknowledge Pakistan’s progress towards the ease of doing business for small and medium-sized enterprises. As a result of government’s measures, Pakistan has moved up 4 notches in the rankings compared to last year and is among this year’s top 10 global improvers.

The Finance Minister emphasized that Government was fully focused on improving growth and productivity in all sectors of the economy be it agriculture, industry or services sectors. He stated that for improving business climate, the government has put into implementation a countrywide ease of doing business reform strategy with time bound measures to strengthen the business climate and foster private investments.

The Finance Minister directed that specific actions that are required to be taken for the purpose must be identified along with time lines. The Finance Minister observed that implementation of these time-bound reforms would significantly improve the country’s business environment and act as a catalyst for increasing both domestic and foreign investment.

 
November 22, 2016 (PR No. 1894)

JETRO President Extols Pakistan's Economic Progress

President Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Mr. Yasushi Akahoshi has written to Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance and acknowledged that the economic progress made by Pakistan provides confidence to Japanese companies for increased business collaboration.

Mr. Akahoshi appreciated the Finance Minister and the government for pursuing economic policies which are geared towards “ensuring stable and strong economic prosperity” in Pakistan and expressed that JETRO is “fully committing all possible efforts toward deepening” the bilateral economic relationship. 

President JETRO in his correspondence has thanked the Finance Minister for meeting the JETRO delegation which accorded an opportunity to discuss areas for more active economic cooperation between Pakistan and Japan.

Country Director JETRO Mr. Osamu Hisaki while delivering the letter from President JETRO said that JETRO was thankful to the Finance Minister, Board of Investment and Federal Board of Revenue for facilitating Japanese companies in doing business in Pakistan. He said that various issues faced by Japanese companies in Pakistan were getting rectified due to “swift responses by the authorities” and strong pro investment policy of the government, which has created confidence for other Japanese companies to invest in Pakistan. Country Director JETRO informed that a business exhibition by Japanese companies will soon be held in Karachi under the auspices of JETRO to promote future investment in Pakistan.

 
November 18, 2016 (PR No. 1893)

Finance Minister presented the Companies Bill 2016 in the National Assembly

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar presented the Companies Bill 2016 in the National Assembly here today.  The Companies Ordnance 2016 has been promulgated through a Presidential Ordnance and has now been laid before the National Assembly as required under Clause (2) of Article 89 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. 

The Minister said that the Bill has been finalized after extensive consultations with all stakeholders to introduce best international corporate practices in Pakistan. He pointed out that there was a dire need to revamp the thirty two years old Companies Ordinance, 1984, in order to provide an improved competitive legal framework for the corporate sector in Pakistan. 

The Minister stated that all stakeholders expressed their unanimous support for enacting Companies Bill, 2016 and expressed the hope for its enactment at the earliest in order to help address long standing demand of the business community. He observed that the Bill provides major emphasis on ease of doing business. 

The Finance Minister elaborated that the Bill provides maximum facilitation to corporate sector and envisages use of technology at all levels including filing of documents to SECP electronically, supply of documents, information, notices to the members electronically, attending meetings through video link and voting through e-ballot. The Finance Minister added that the Bill aimed to provide protection of interests of minority shareholders and creditors as well as encouraged inclusion of independent and non-executive directors in the company’s boards. The Bill also required real estate companies to provide enhanced protection to investors. The Bill also provides for Shariah certifications of companies.

 
November 17, 2016 (PR No. 1892)

Finance Minister holds joint meeting with the Deputy Prime Ministers of Turkey

The Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, held a joint meeting with the Deputy Prime Ministers of Turkey, Mr. Yildirim Tugrul Turkes and Mr. Veysi Kaynak, at the Prime Minister’s House today to discuss matters of bilateral interest between Pakistan and Turkey.

Both sides appreciated the exemplary brotherly relationship between Pakistan and Turkey. It was agreed by both sides that all necessary measures should be undertaken to further enhance bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

The Finance Minister acknowledged that the government and people of Turkey are always the first to reach and help Pakistan in our hour of need. He said that, in recent years, the First Lady of Turkey has played a leading and exemplary role in providing help to mitigate the suffering of citizens affected by natural disasters in Pakistan, including earthquakes and floods.

The Finance Minister said that Pakistan has achieved macroeconomic stability during the present government, and now the government is focused on stimulating economic growth. He said that the improvement in Pakistan’s economy has been recognized by multilateral international organizations and international credit rating agencies, in the form of raised growth projections and credit rating upgrades. The Finance Minister praised the taxation model of Turkey and said that cooperation efforts are already being undertaken at the appropriate level to draw lessons from the Turkish experience.

The Deputy Prime Ministers of Turkey congratulated the Finance Minister on the achievement of economic stability in Pakistan within a short span of time. Deputy Prime Minister Yildirim Tugrul Turkes said that Turkey had undertaken its tax reforms in a business friendly manner, and Turkey would be happy to assist Pakistan in any way possible with its tax reforms.

 
November 16, 2016 (PR No. 1891)

Finance Minister reviewed the progress of Renovation of Senate Secretaiat

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting to review the status of renovation work being done at the Senate Secretariat in Islamabad.

Member Engineering and officials of the Senate briefed the Minister about the progress of the renovation work at the Senate Secretariat and the issues related with the completion of work.
The Minister asked the CDA authorities to make best possible use of the available resources, rationalize the expenditure and ensure that the quality of the renovation work is not compromised. He also directed CDA should optimize the use of its indigenous resources for projects that are of vital importance.

The Minister also directed CDA to complete the renovation work in the shortest possible time.
Senior officials of Ministry of Finance and CDA attended the meeting.

 
November 16, 2016 (PR No. 1890)

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan makes farewell telephonic call to the Finance Minister

Mr. Richard Olsson, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, made a farewell telephonic call to the Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar.

Mr. Olson said that he values the long working relationship with the Finance Minister, both as US Ambassador to Pakistan and, subsequently, as US Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. He acknowledged the revival of Pakistan’s economy by the Finance Minister, under the able leadership of the Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. He said that “Pakistan is much better placed now compared to 3 years ago”.

The Finance Minister reciprocated the sentiments of Mr. Olsson, and emphasized that Pakistan and the US should continue to work towards further strengthening bilateral relations for the welfare and prosperity of the peoples of both nations. He acknowledged the contribution made by Mr. Olson towards the promotion of peace in the region. He said that, after having achieved macroeconomic stability, the government’s focus is now on attaining higher, sustainable and inclusive growth, leading to job creation and poverty alleviation for the people of Pakistan.

 
November 15, 2016 (PR No. 1889)

Finance Minister took notice of Cable Operators strike call

The Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar took notice of Cable Operators’ strike call.

The Finance Minister fixed a meeting with the Cable Operators on Friday at 4 pm to consider their problems sympathetically. On positive response of the Finance Minister, Cable operators postponed their strike call.

 
November 15, 2016 (PR No. 1888)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting with Minister for Petroluem and Natural Resources to review the progress of different initiatives

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here today with Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources to review the progress of different initiatives relating to Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources.

 The Finance Minister shared with Mr. Abbasi that in comparison to the rest of South Asia, particularly India and Bangladesh, Pakistan has maintained the lowest prices of petroleum products in the country. The Finance Minister also said that under the advice of the Prime Minister Finance Ministry is providing as much as possible relief to the end consumers. He urged the Petroleum Ministry to focus on discovery of new fields so that the burden on national exchequer may be reduced of oil imports. The Finance Minister also mentioned that with the advent of winter there is more demand of gas and the Minister of Petroleum should give priority to the export sectors.

The petroleum Minister appreciated the stability maintained in oil prices for the benefit of the end consumers. He also discussed with the Finance Minister about the overall gas supply situation. He said that during winters the usage of natural gas goes up and his Ministry will make every effort to maintain the pressure of the gas supply. He also informed the Finance Minister that Petroleum Ministry is encouraging investment for new discoveries of oil and gas to ease the supply situation in the country and priority would be accorded to export sectors.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of Ministries of Finance and Petroleum and Natural Resources.

 
November 15, 2016 (PR No. 1887)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting with the officials of FBR

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here today with officials of FBR, Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) and Finance Division on the matters related to AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering / Combating Financing of Terrorism) regime.

The Finance Minister was briefed on the reforms introduced so far in various laws to counter money laundering and terrorist financing.  The Finance Minister remarked that government has taken a number of initiatives in this regard to promote transparency and good governance.  The Companies Ordinance 2016, promulgated recently, empowers the SECP to investigate and also conduct joint investigation against fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing. The Benami Law, recently passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan, aims to curb the use of benami transactions for criminal proceeds and black money.  Similarly, the government has also undertaken measures for valuation of property and related tax matters.  Pakistan has also become a signatory to the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. Furthermore, he said that new measures, such as the Companies’ Global Register of Beneficial Ownership, will curb corruption, help address challenges related to off-shore investments, and ensure transparency in governance. The Finance Minister emphasized that the Zarb-e-Azb operation against terrorists coupled with the reforms and measures undertaken including legislations have resulted in effective curbing of the menace of terrorism and terrorist financing.

The Finance Minister urged the officials present in the meeting to ensure effective and expeditious implementation of these laws and measures to achieve the desired outcomes. He further directed that continued efforts should be made for further strengthening the regime and improvements should be suggested to plug any possible loopholes related to money laundering and terrorist financing.    

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

 
November 14, 2016 (PR No. 1886)

Govt has no plans to demonetize 5000 Rs.currency notes - Finance Minister

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has dispelled the rumors about the demonetization of Rs. 5000 currency notes and withdrawal of Rs.40,000 prize bonds.

He said that these rumors are totally baseless and are spread by the vested interest for ulterior motives. He further said that even no such proposal is under consideration of the government.

 
November 14, 2016 (PR No. 1885)

Finance Minister held a meeting with a delegation of the World Bank

Federal Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar held a meeting with a delegation of the World Bank led by Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovan to discuss various ongoing reform initiatives being undertaken by the Government.

The Finance Minister reviewed the country development portfolio of the World Bank in Pakistan. Progress on implementation of various projects being executed with World Bank’s assistance was reviewed. The Finance Minister expressed satisfaction over the pace of project implementation and appreciated the cooperation offered by the World Bank team to Pakistan in its various development projects. The Finance Minister apprised the World Bank team about the government’s reform agenda which was especially focused on reforms in the financial, insurance and banking sectors.

The Country Director World Bank appreciated the performance of the current government in introducing reforms and discussed with the Finance Minister the proposed financial assistance package to be made available to Pakistan under Finance for Growth Development Policy Credit. Both sides agreed to speed up reforms process that will bring efficiency and transparency in the system.

The meeting was attended by Secretary Finance, Chairman SECP and other senior officials of Ministry of Finance and the World Bank.

 
November 13, 2016 (PR No. 1884)

Chairman SECP called on the Finance Minister

Chairman SECP, Mr. Zafar Hijazi, accompanied by Commissioners and senior management officers, called on the Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, at his office to express gratitude and sincere thanks for the guidance and support extended by him during the whole process and early promulgation of the Companies Ordinance, 2016, and other legislative reforms in Capital Markets and Corporate sector in the country.

The new Companies Ordinance, 2016 has replaced the 32 years old Companies Ordinance, 1984. With technological advancements and developments in corporate regulatory framework across the globe in past few decades, the complete revamping of old law was long overdue and it was much needed to bring the law in conformity with international best practices in regulating the corporate sector. Similarly, the desired improvements for the ease of doing business could not be achieved without an enabling legal framework. With the introduction of Companies Ordinance, 2016, Pakistan is now standing at par with developed jurisdictions like UK, New Zealand etc. where same exercise has been done in the past few years. 

The Companies Ordinance, 2016 has been finalized after extensive consultations with all stakeholders across the country. The exercise included series of consultative seminars / roundtable meetings in all major cities of the country, and exclusive sessions with ICAP, ICMAP, leading lawyers and chartered accountants etc. The Minister for Finance himself chaired two such major seminars at Karachi and Islamabad. 

The Minister for Finance, while appreciating the efforts of SECP, stated that a number of legal reforms have been introduced in the last two years which include  the Securities Act 2015, the Futures Market Act 2016, the SECP Amendment Act 2016, the Corporate Restructuring Companies Act 2016, the Companies Ordinance 2016, the Companies (Appointment of Legal Advisors) Amendment Bill, the Limited Liability Partnership Bill, and Corporate Rehabilitation Bill, whereas consultation with stakeholders on the new Insurance law and wide ranging amendments in Modaraba Ordinance have been completed.

The Finance Minister directed Chairman SECP to take immediate measures to ensure implementation of the new law and issue necessary directions to the regional offices of SECP across the country for the purpose. Further, SECP should create a cell of experts at the Head Office to provide guidance on the new law.  The Government has promulgated the new law through Ordinance so that corporate sector may immediately benefit from the reforms introduced in the new Law.

The Finance Minister also stated that all the legal formalities for the approval of the Ordinance from Parliament shall be followed and valuable guidance / suggestions from honorable members of the Parliament will be welcome.

Chairman SECP apprised the Minister for Finance about recent measures taken by SECP for facilitation of corporate sector and enhancing the ease of doing business.

 
November 13, 2016 (PR No. 1883)

Companies Ordinance, 2016

Download Companies Ordinance, 2016

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November 12, 2016 (PR No. 1882)

Promulgation of Companies Ordinance, 2016

The President of Pakistan has been pleased to promulgate the Companies Ordinance, 2016, on November 11, 2016, in order to replace the Companies Ordinance, 1984. On this occasion, the Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, said that the Companies Ordinance, 2016, has been promulgated, after extensive consultations with all stakeholders, in order to encourage and facilitate best international corporate practices in Pakistan.

The Companies Ordinance, 2016, contains provisions for simplifying the procedure for incorporation of companies, enabling maximum use of technology, conversion of physical shares into book-entry form in unlisted companies, and encouraging paperless environment at all levels. In order to ensure maximum participation of members in the decision making process of the company, the Companies Ordinance, 2016, encourages use of modern electronic means of communication.

It also includes special provisions to facilitate small and medium enterprises. The Companies Ordinance, 2016, also includes provisions for Shariah certifications of companies, and requirements for real estate companies for providing enhanced protection to the investor. Furthermore, the Companies Ordinance, 2016, provides protection to independent and non-executive directors to encourage inclusion in the board, as well as provisions for manner of selection and maintenance of data bank of independent directors. It aims to address the issues relating to protection of interest of minority shareholders and creditors.

The Companies Ordinance, 2016, also introduces other reforms such as relaxations for free zone companies, registration of agricultural promotion companies for the development of agricultural sector, and the establishment of Investor Education and Awareness Fund. It includes provisions for registration of valuers, dispute resolution mechanism through Mediation and Conciliation Panel, passing of members’ resolution through circulation,as well as simplified provisions for expeditious Mergers and Acquisitions. In addition, Companies Ordinance, 2016, emphasizes maximum disclosures by Pakistanis to the local regulatory authorities in respect of investment in foreign companies. It also provides facilitation and regulation of Public Sector Enterprises.

Under the Companies Ordinance, 2016, the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) will maintain a Companies’ Global Register of Beneficial Ownership, which will have complete record of the beneficial ownership of the substantial shareholders and officers in local and foreign companies doing business in Pakistan. Moreover, it will be binding on the foreign company operating in Pakistan to provide complete information of its directors, officers and/or beneficial owners.

In order to ensure adequate measures against fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing, Companies Ordinance, 2016, empowers the SECP to investigate and also conduct joint investigation. Furthermore, provisions requiring officers of a company to take adequate measures to curb such violations have also been included.

The Finance Minister remarked that the Companies Ordinance, 2016, has been promulgated to provide relief and incentives to the corporate sector, especially small and medium sized companies, in order to give immediate impetus to the economy and stimulate economic growth. He said that there was a strong need to revamp the thirty-two years old Companies Ordinance, 1984, in order to provide an improved competitive legal framework for the corporate sector in Pakistan. He said that, during various stakeholder consultations, market experts and the business community had expressed unanimous support for enacting Companies Ordinance, 2016, at the earliest, as it would help address long standing demands of the business community.

The Finance Minister said that the Companies Ordinance, 2016, will reduce the cost of incorporating and doing business, which will enable Pakistan’s corporate sector to be competitive in the international markets. He welcomed the various reforms under the Companies Ordinance, 2016, including use modern communication technology and simplified regulatory procedures. He said that new measures, such as the Companies’ Global Register of Beneficial Ownership, will curb corruption, help address challenges related to off-shore investments, and ensure transparency in governance.

The Finance Minister appreciated the efforts of the SECP, the Ministry of Finance, and the various stakeholders who have taken the time and effort to provide their constructive comments and recommendations, leading to the finalization and promulgation of the Companies Ordinance, 2016.

 
November 11, 2016 (PR No. 1881)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting to review preparations of Urs Data Ganj Bakhsh

The Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, chaired the meeting here today, through video conferencing, of the Religious Purpose Committee of Data Darbar to review arrangements of the 973rd Urs congregation of Hazrat Ali Bin Usman Hajveri (Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh R.A), which will held from 19 to 21 November 2016 at Data Sahib Shrine in Lahore.

The Minister was briefed by Secretary Auqaf Punjab on the preparations of Urs congregation. A large number of devotees from across the country are expected to participate in the Urs congregation.

The Finance Minister emphasized that fool proof security arrangements be made for the Urs congregation in order to ensure that the event is held seamlessly. He reviewed all the arrangements including security, traffic management, command and control system, CCTV cameras, health camps and ambulances, public address system, food safety and hygiene, and other relevant issues.

The Finance Minister laid special emphasis on providing more security and prayer space to the women devotees. The Minister directed the committee and all departments concerned to ensure maximum facilitation for the general public on this occasion.

The Finance Minister appreciated the arrangements made by all the departments concerned. He hoped that all officials would put in their best effort to make this year’s Urs congregation a great success.

Mian Ata Muhammad Maneka, Punjab Minister for Auqaf & Religious Affairs, Secretary & Chief Administrator Auqaf Punjab, Special Assistant to Finance Minister, representatives of relevant departments of Punjab Government, and members of the Religious Purpose Committee participated in the meeting.

 
November 11, 2016 (PR No. 1880)

Finance Minister chairedthe meeting of CCOR

The Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, chaired the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Restructuring (CCOR) here at the Prime Minister’s Office today.

The CCOR reviewed the implementation status of the earlier decisions and recommendations on restructuring. The members of the CCOR appreciated the cases where successful implementation had been undertaken. Furthermore, different proposals for the restructuring of ministries’ departments were discussed, including proposals pertaining to Ministry of Textile Industry and Ministry for National Food Security and Research. As the next step, the recommendations of the CCOR will be submitted to the Prime Minister for consideration.

The Finance Minister emphasized that the effective restructuring of government organizations, including ministries, can play a major role in facilitating smooth and efficient functioning of the government. He said that the proper allocation of government business to the appropriate organizations / institutions is vital to ensuring good governance and improved service delivery to the people of Pakistan.

 
November 10, 2016 (PR No. 1879)

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, Islamabad.

Keeping in view the hardship of employees families, ECC has approved 3 months’ salary for the employees of Pakistan Steel Mill Corporation. Improving upon the previous practice of approving 2 months salaries, the Chair approved provision of 3 months salaries for the employees of the Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation.

The Ministry of National Food Security and Research gave a detailed presentation regarding supply position of grain pulse and its prices in the international market. The Chair directed the ministry to monitor supply position and prices of gram pulse to cater the country’s demand. ECC also asked the Ministry to co-ordinate with the provincial governments for ensuring price control and steady supply of gram pulse in the market.

ECC of the Cabinet approved issuance of sovereign guarantee by Government in respect of Syndicated Term Finance Facility amounting to rupees 136.5 billion for the power sector. The decision was taken on the request of the Ministry of Water and Power as the Power Holding (Private) Limited is a public sector entity and will be responsible for arranging loan amounting to rupees 136.5 billion for power sector companies.

ECC allowed Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources for replacement of Lower Zakum crude price with Das Blend crude price to determine basket price for Oil Refineries. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources apprised the ECC that previously the Lower Zakum crude oil was included for determining basket price of crude being supplied to Oil Refineries in Pakistan. The Platts Global Alert has stopped publishing the price of the Lower Zakum crude oil, therefore, requisite replacement was accorded.

 
November 09, 2016 (PR No. 1878)

Government supports Railways' development initiative - Finance Minister

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here today to review the financing arrangements of the “Up-gradation of the Main-Line-1 (ML 1) of Pakistan Railways” one of the early harvest projects of the CPEC. The Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafique and Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal also participated the meeting along with the Secretaries concerned.

The Finance Minister said that the Government is fully cognizant of the importance of Pakistan Railways as an important service provider to the people of Pakistan and Government will make maximum effort to support the Railways up-gradation initiative. He urged the Secretary Railways to evaluate the up-gradation initiative in detail, keeping in sight the best possible utilization of resources and the maximum value for money.

The Minister for Railways, Khwaja Saad Rafique thanked the Finance Minister for his positive approach and cooperation towards national development projects. Secretary Railways briefed the Finance Minister that the feasibility study of the project was complete and CDWP had already approved the PC-I of the project in June 2016. The Project will be completed in a phased manner. In the first phase, the Karachi to Lahore and Taxila to Havalian portion of the ML1 will be undertaken. As the project was of vital importance to Pakistan, having long term financial, economic and social benefits, there was a pressing need to finance the project through concessional financing from various sources. Ministry of Railways had already sent a request to the Ministry of Planning Development and Reforms and the Economic Affairs Division for arranging the loan for the project on favorable terms.
In this connection, the Finance Minister directed the Economic Affairs Division and the Ministry of Planning to explore possible sources of concessional financing including the Exim Bank of China and ADB.

The Minister for Planning and Development said that Planning Ministry will support the development initiative of the Ministry of Railways.

The up-gradation of the first phase i.e. Karachi-Lahore and  Taxila to Havalian portion envisages locomotives, passenger coaches, freight wagons, signaling and telecommuting equipment, track maintenance equipment, workshop equipment, etc. while the material requirements are rails, rail fastenings, sleepers, ballast, bridge girders, turns outs, steel, concrete and cement, etc. Capacity building of officials and technical staff of PR is also part of the project.

 
November 09, 2016 (PR No. 1877)

Speech by the Finance Minister on the National Day & Election Day of the United States of America

Your Excellency David Hale, US Ambassador to Pakistan,
Distinguished Guests, Members of the Diplomatic Corps/Ministers/Parliamentarians,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me immense pleasure to represent the Prime Minister and the people of Pakistan here on this historic day when the American friends are celebrating the National Day and the Election Day at the same time. Being a thriving democracy ourselves, we can identify and associate with the feelings and passions of our American friends on the occasion of this Presidential election. Being a member of a democratically-elected Parliament myself, I can understand the excitement of this moment perfectly well.

Pakistan and the United States are old friends. It is a relationship spanning over generations and based in the common ideals of freedom, liberty, democracy, individual rights and the belief in the power of the people. Those are ideals that guided and inspired the founding fathers of the U.S. and those of Pakistan as well.

The Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, since after assuming the reins of the Government in 2013, has endeavoured to make the Pak-U.S. relationship as a broad-based, multi-dimensional and mutually beneficial partnership. Happily he found a willing friend and partner in President Barack Obama. Thanks to their leadership and vision, we have been able to place our relations on a stable and upward trajectory over the past years.

The Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue, with its six Working Groups covering diverse areas from Economy to Education, Energy to Defence and Security, has put the bilateral relationship on a sound institutional footing. The Dialogue mechanism provides an excellent platform for both sides to jointly monitor the progress achieved so far as well as to identify new areas of mutually beneficial cooperation. Apart from that regular high level exchanges, including military delegations, have greatly helped us better understand each other’s perspective on issues of mutual interest and concern. These engagements characterise the resilience and strength of our close relationship and enable us to develop a comprehensive and balanced perspective on our meaningful cooperation with each other and the current challenges and opportunities.

U.S. is a key economic and development partner of Pakistan. We deeply appreciate the development cooperation our two countries have had over the years. Importantly, U.S. is Pakistan’s second largest trading partner and the biggest market for Pakistani exports. We are very keen to further expand our trade and economic ties to the mutual benefit of our people.

We firmly believe that given the imperatives of peace, stability and security in the region, continued close cooperation between Pakistan and the US is important to successfully fight terrorism and to attain the shared objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity.

Distinguished Guests,

We, in Pakistan, cherish our long standing friendship with the U.S. We have a past we can be proud of; a present that energizes us to do things better and better together and an optimistic future to look forward to.

I would again wish you and our American friends in the U.S, on behalf of the Prime Minister, myself and the people of Pakistan, a very happy National Day. And regardless of who wins the elections, we look forward to closely working with the new Administration in pursuit of our common ideals of freedom, democracy, peace and prosperity.

Distinguished guests and my fellow Pakistanis, please join me in extending our best wishes for the continued well-being, progress and prosperity of the American people.

 
November 08, 2016 (PR No. 1876)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the performance of Economic Affairs Division

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting to review the performance of Economic Affairs Division here today. The Finance Minister was briefed by Secretary Economic Affairs Division on Portfolios and Country Partnership Strategies of the Development Partners and the implementation status of the ongoing projects in the country.

The Finance Minister reviewed the status of preparations of the development projects in the pipeline and stressed the need for their early finalization. The Minister emphasized that project aid disbursement should be timely, transparent and its utilization should be efficient.

The Finance Minister was also briefed on the ongoing return and rehabilitation status of the FATA Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) and the aid disbursement and utilization status of various projects being executed for the purpose. He appreciated the role of all stakeholders and reiterated government’s commitment for allocating the required resources for safe and dignified return and rehabilitation of the TDP families and reconstruction of the damaged areas in FATA.

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

 
November 08, 2016 (PR No. 1875)

Finance Minister addressed Senior Civil and Military Officers participating in course at NDU

Addressing Senior Civil and Military Officers participating in the National Security and War Course 2017 at the National Defense University here at the FBR headquarters today, the Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar said that Growth is the name of the game for economic stability of the country.

The Minister highlighted that the present government’s economic policies have put Pakistan on the road to macroeconomic stability. He added that now target is to achieve higher, sustainable and inclusive growth. He pointed out that international organizations including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund have acknowledged the positive impact of the challenging structural reforms undertaken by the present Government, and are appreciating the improvement in Pakistan’s economy over the past three years. He said that the government is committed to building on the momentum gained during the last three years and pursuing the economic reform agenda with the same vigour.

At the outset of his address to the course participants, the Finance Minister appreciated the crucial role of NDU in preparing senior officers of both civil and military for leadership roles. He said that participation in the ongoing course will equip the officers to make a positive contribution in policy formulation and strategic decision making, which bodes well for Pakistan’s future. He emphasized that the good performance of both civil and military senior officers was vital to the peace, progress and prosperity of the nation.

The participants of the course also asked questions related to the economy, export promotion, tax reforms and agriculture sector uplift. During question answer session, the Minister said that the Government is focused on plan to boost agriculture and exports sectors.

The Finance Minister’s address was preceded by presentations of the Finance Secretary and chairman FBR who provided an overview of the economy, and FBR, detailing the tax reforms undertaken over the last three years. 

 
November 07, 2016 (PR No. 1874)

Delegation of the World Bank called on Finance Minister

A delegation of the World Bank led by Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovan, accompanied by Ms. Anabel Gonzalez, Director Trade and Competiveness, Esperanza Lasagabaster, Practice Manager, Gabi Afram, Program Leader and others called on the Federal Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here at the Finance Ministry. Chairman Board of Investment Mr Miftah Ismail was also present on the occasion.

The Finance Minister welcomed the guests and appreciated the cooperation offered by the World Bank team to Pakistan in its various development projects. The Minister also briefly discussed with the World Bank team the recent economic developments that have taken place in the country. The Finance Minister added that the Government is taking steps to facilitate the business activities in the Country and improve its rating on the Ease of Doing Business index.

The Country Director World Bank appreciated the performance of the current government in introducing reforms and said that though the ratings of Pakistan have improved only four points on the Ease of Doing Business Index, the Bank sees it as a big development and a positive and constructive step towards more facilitation for trade and investment activities in the country.

Ms. Anabel Gonzalez, who has served as Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Trade from 2010 to 2014, also congratulated the Finance Minister on the announcement by Renault, one of the leading car manufacturers in the world, to start production in Pakistan and said that it will go a long way in improving Pakistan’s ratings on the Ease of Doing Business Index and stimulate further foreign investment.

Briefing the World Bank team, the Finance Minister said, “The PML-N Government has taken various steps to enhance exports including zero rating for exports and introducing Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2015-2018”. He also said that the government was vigorously working to create further opportunities for export led growth which can create employment in Pakistan.

Ms. Anabel Gonzalez, Director Trade and Competiveness observed that the present Government has introduced reforms which will lead to overall development of the country’s economy. She said that though Pakistan has set itself a growth target of 5.5% for the current fiscal year, yet the Bank foresees a much higher growth potential for the country in the future. She also briefly discussed measures to improve the country’s ratings and boost the exports of the country.  She also praised the efforts to accelerate growth, harmonized tarrifs and provision of more job opportunities for women.
The meeting was attended by the Finance Secretary, Secretary Commerce and other senior officials of the Ministries of Finance and Commerce.

 
November 07, 2016 (PR No. 1873)

Federal Government agrees to settle Punjab net hydel profit

In a meeting chaired by Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization, the Federal Government has agreed to settle the Net Hydel Profit relating to Ghazi Brotha Hydel Power Project following the principles of similar settlement reached earlier this year with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on the same subject. The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Water and Power, Chief Minister Punjab, Mr. Shehbaz Sharif, Punjab Finance Minister, Federal Secretary Water and Power and other officials of the Federal and provincial government.

The term of the settlement envisaged payment of Rs.82 billion as Net Hydel Power for the periods 2005 to 2016. Of this, Rs.38 billion would be settled through issuance of a promissory note by 31st December 2016 by WAPDA while the remaining amount would be paid over a period of next three fiscal years.

The WAPDA, through Ministry of Water and Power, after soliciting CCI approval, would file a petition with NEPRA to seek a tariff determination for supply of electricity from Ghazi Barotha Hydel Power Plant incorporating the terms of the settlement.

 
November 07, 2016 (PR No. 1872)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting of ECNEC

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

ECNEC considered and approved the project for construction / installation of “220 KV Mirpur Khas Substation along with Associated Transmission Lines (PC-1)” at a rationalized total cost of Rs. 3,857.10 million including FEC of Rs. 1,854.69 million. The project will complete in 2 years’ time, and will enable meeting the growing power demand of areas including MirpurKhas, Mir Wah Gorchani, Sultanabad, Kandiari, Sanghar, Shah PurChakar, Jam Nawaz, Tando Jam, Samaro and T.A. Yar under the jurisdiction of HESCO. It will lead to improved voltage reliability, system reliability of network, reduction in the loading of power transformers, and the overall efficiency and stability of the power system in Sindh Province. The project will be financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The project of “500 kV HVAC Transmission Lines for Interconnection of HVDC with HVAC System at Matiari and Lahore” also obtained approval of ECNEC. The project was approved at a total rationalized cost of Rs. 4,805.70 million including FEC of Rs. 2,620.72 million. The project, which will be implemented in 2 years, will result in interconnection of HVDC with HVAC system for facilitating the dispersal of power from the proposed 4,000 MW power plants in the southern part of the country.

ECNEC also considered and approved the project of “220 KV Dera Ismail Khan – Zhob Double Circuit Transmission Line along with 220 KV Zhob Substation” at a rationalized cost of Rs. 6,878.41 million, including FEC of Rs. 3,094.01 million, to be financed through ADB. The project will be completed by June 2018. It envisages installation of new 220 kV Substation at Zhob along with 220 kV Dera Ismail Khan – Zhob transmission line in order to reduce transmission losses and meet the growing power requirements of Qilla Saifullah, G.H. Zai, MusafirPur, Zhob, Mekhtar and Duki under the jurisdiction of QESCO.

The project for “Evacuation of Power from 1320 MW Imported Coal Based Power Plant at Hub” was approved at an updated total cost of Rs. 16,414.92 million including FEC of Rs. 7,875.70 million, subject to the condition that implementation of the project will be starting after achieving financial close of 1,320 MW power plant at Hub. The project entails laying of 220 km, 500 kV double circuit transmission line from Hub Power Plant to 500 kV Matiari switching station, and extension at the switching station with two line bays with shunt reactors. The project will be financed through International Financial Institutions.

ECNEC also considered and approved recommendations regarding the “Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Project in Second and Fifth Circles and New Customer Information and Billing System for the Entire Company in LESCO” and the “Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Project in Rawalpindi circle, Taxila Division, B-1 & B11 Customers of Entire Company and New Modern Billing System for the Entire Company in IESCO”. These projects have already been approved by ECNEC in July 2016. In its meeting today, ECNEC approved the flexible use of technology in these projects depending upon the suitability of the distribution network of the respective DISCOs.

The Chair said that these projects demonstrate that, in addition to increasing the generation capacity of the power sector in Pakistan, the government is also seriously committed to strengthening the transmission and distributions network of the sector in the country.

For the Health sector, ECNEC considered and approved the “Expanded Program on Immunization Punjab (EPI)” which aim at prevention of 9 vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs). The immunization / vaccination services are being delivered through fixed and outreach centres for routine immunization as well as mobile vaccinators for house immunization and special campaigns. The program has been approved at a total cost of Rs. 22,262.63 million including FEC of Rs. 3,815.96 million. The program will support immunization of children and pregnant mothers to reduce IMR and MMR, as envisaged in Vision 2025 and 11th Five Year Plan, and will improve the health status of children in Punjab.

In the Transport and Communication sector, ECNEC approved the projects titled “Land Acquisition, Affected Properties Compensation and Relocation of Utilities for Construction of Burhan / Hakla to D.I. Khan Motorway”. The project envisages acquisition of 7,496 acres of land (59,969 kanals) for construction of 285 km 4-lanes expressway with a 100m wide Right of Way (RoW), as part of the western route of CPEC. ECNEC had already approved the project, in principle, at the rationalized scope and cost of Rs. 11,973 million without FEC (foreign exchange component), subject to verification of the proposed route of the project from the Joint Declaration announced at the eve of the All Parties Conference held on 28 May, 2015. The project for “Construction of Motorway from Burhan / Hakla on M-1 to D.I. Khan” was also approved by ECNEC. This project had already been approved by ECNEC, in principle, at the rationalized scope and cost of Rs. 110,208 million subject to the aforementioned condition of verification of the proposed route of the project. In its meeting held today, ECNEC granted final approval to both the projects after ECNEC was informed that the condition of verification of proposed route has been met after consultation between the Federal Committee on CPEC and KPK Committee on CPEC.

ECNEC also considered and approved the project for “Land Acquisition, Affected Properties Compensation and Relocation of Utilities for Construction of 6 – Land Highway from Kala Shah Kaku to Lahore Ring Road (18.3 km) including Bridge over River Ravi (Lahore Eastern Bypass)” at a total rationalized cost of Rs. 10,486.45 million with no FEC. The project envisages acquisition of 952 acres of land (7,617 kanals) for construction of 18.3 km long 6 lane dual carriageway with 100m RoW from Kala Shah Kaku interchange to Lahore Ring Road at 500m ahead of Mehmood Booti Junction including construction of a new bridge over River Ravi and other allied structures.

 
November 05, 2016 (PR No. 1871)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting on signing OECD convention on Anti-Bribery

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, chaired a meeting here today to review the steps being taken by the government to ensure good governance, improve transparency and to curb the menace of corruption.

The Finance Minister said that Pakistan has recently become a signatory to the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. He said that Pakistan’s fiscal regime stands strengthened by joining this Convention, which will bring further transparency and openness in governance.

The Finance Minister directed that inter-ministerial consultation should be undertaken to determine Pakistan’s readiness for accession to other international conventions and protocols which create transparency and openness in governance. He said that OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an initiative of the UK Government should both be reviewed and recommendations should be made on Pakistan’s preparedness for joining these multilateral fora. He said that accession to these multilateral agreements will augment Pakistan’s efforts to combat fiscal crime and will further strengthen our compliance framework on anticorruption. The Finance Minister directed that all necessary steps for joining both fora should be undertaken expeditiously.

The meeting was attended by Secretary Finance Dr. Waqar Massod, Special Assistant to Finance Minister Tariq Pasha and other senior officials of the Finance Ministry.

 
November 05, 2016 (PR No. 1870)

MD IMF's Letter to Finance Minister

“Pakistan has achieved a great deal over the past three years in the context of its IMF supported program by restoring macroeconomic stability, strengthening the economy’s resilience and setting the stage for a deeper structural transformation to achieve higher and more inclusive growth” said Managing Director International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde in her letter to Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance.

MD International Monetary Fund congratulated the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for his accomplishments and appreciated the opportunity her visit accorded for holding engaging discussions on the government’s ongoing economic reform program.

Ms. Christine Lagarde visited Pakistan from 24-26 October, 2016. Her visit program comprised a range of meetings including a call on the Prime Minister, official talks with the Finance Minister and the government’s economic team.

In her correspondence dated 2nd November, 2016 to the Finance Minister, Ms. Lagarde reiterated the IMF’s support to Pakistan in completing its transformation to a full-fledged emerging market.

A copy of the correspondence from MD IMF addressed to the Finance Minister dated 2nd November, 2016 is annexed.

 
November 04, 2016 (PR No. 1869)

Delegation of Chinese private equity investors called on Finance Minister

A delegation of Chinese private equity investors led by Mr. YauWai Ming, Chairman HaoTian Group Holdings Limited and Ms. Cheng Yan, Vice President China Huarong International Holdings Ltd, Hong Kong, called on the Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar here this morning. Minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was also present on the occasion.

The Finance Minister welcomed the delegation and appreciated the interest of Chinese investors in Pakistan. He said that due to the strong economic fundamentals achieved by Pakistan in the last three years, international investors were keenly interested in investment opportunities. He said that the ongoing projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor are stimulating further investment in infrastructure development in Pakistan. The Minister emphasized that Pakistan and China have a strong collaboration in developing connectivity in the region.

Ms. Cheng Yan, the Vice President China Huarong International Holdings Limited, thanked the Finance Minister for his warm welcome. She greatly appreciated recent economic progress made by Pakistan. She briefed the Minister that the delegation is interested in identifying investment opportunities in Pakistan in the fields of infrastructure, finance, petroleum and retail business and they have been preparing draft investment plans keeping in view the investment opportunities offered by Pakistan. Mr. YauWai Ming, Chairman HaoTian Group Holdings Limited said that the delegation comprised large asset managers from China and they were interested in investment in Pakistan due to the macroeconomic stability and investment facilitative regime in Pakistan.

The Finance Minister briefly discussed with the delegation the financial stability achieved by Pakistan during the last three years and steps taken to enhance ease of doing business. He especially mentioned the high performance shown by recently established Pakistan Stock Exchange which is attracting international investment interest. Senator Dar also said that the Pakistan Development Fund Ltd (PDF) will finance commercially viable infrastructure projects in Pakistan and that the government has received interest from IFC of the World Bank, China Development Bank and sovereign investment authorities for equity investment in the PDF. He also said that the recently upgraded ratings of  Pakistan by Standards and Poor’s is an ample proof of the gains Pakistan has been making in the economic field over a short period of time.The Minister appreciated the interest shown by the delegation in various fields and offered all possible assistance of his team to assist the delegation in identifying best possible opportunities to invest in Pakistan.

Secretary Finance, Chairman FBR, Secretary Petroleum, Secretary Water & Power, Chairman SECP and SA to FM and senior officials from the Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.

 
November 03, 2016 (PR No. 1868)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the progress for the next NFC Award

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here today to review the progress so far achieved by the Working Groups constituted by the National Finance Commission for the next NFC Award.

The Finance Minister was briefed on the progress of the four Working Groups which were established in the 1st NFC meeting held on April 28, 2015. The Finance Minister was briefed that draft reports of the four Working Groups on (i) Resource Mobilization (ii) Devolved Vs Integrated Tax Structure (iii) Allocation Efficiency and Expenditure Analysis and (iv) Rationalization of Subsidies and Grants have been completed. The initial reports of the three Groups were discussed in a meeting on 5th September, 2016 at Lahore. The 4th report is complete for sharing with the Provincial Governments.

The Finance Minister stressed on doubling efforts both at the Federal and Provincial level to increase revenue mobilization in order to achieve higher GDP growth.

The Finance Minister emphasized that since the initial work has been completed, it was now time to expeditiously move to the next steps for completion of the Award. The Minister stated that all stakeholders need to focus on resource mobilization and strengthening of relations between the Federation and the Provinces to achieve national harmony and partnership on the path to development and progress. He directed the relevant Federal Ministries to complete Inter-Ministerial consultation on recommendations of the four Working Groups by end of next week. The Minister further directed that the next NFC meeting should be convened by end November, 2016.

The meeting was attended by senior officers of Ministry of Finance and the Federal Board of Revenue.

 
November 02, 2016 (PR No. 1867)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting on matters related to SECP

The Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, held a meeting today on matters related to the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

The Finance Minister said that the Federal Cabinet has today approved the Draft Companies Bill 2016. He directed that, in pursuance of the approval of the Cabinet, all remaining steps should be completed expeditiously so that all stakeholders can start benefitting from the reforms envisaged under the proposed Bill at the earliest.

Chairman SECP also briefed the Finance Minister on the implementation status of other reforms being undertaken by SECP.

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

 
November 02, 2016 (PR No. 1866)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review debt profile

The Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, held a meeting today to review the overall debt profile of the country.

Finance Secretary and DG Debt briefed the Finance Minister highlighting that debt sustainability has improved during the present government’s tenure. The overall borrowing rate has shown a decrease due to the macroeconomic stability and improved credit ratings by international rating agencies.

The Finance Minister appreciated the efforts of the Debt Policy Coordination Office. He said that the government’s good governance and prudent economic measures have resulted in Standard & Poor’s upgrading Pakistan’s long-term credit rating from B-toB with stable outlook. He said that, in their report, Standard & Poor’s have acknowledged steps taken by the present government foroverall improvement in Pakistan’s economic indicators, implementation of reform agenda and good governance.

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

 
November 02, 2016 (PR No. 1865)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting on AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering / Combating Financing of Terrorism)

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting on the AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering / Combating Financing of Terrorism) regime and implementation in Pakistan.

DG Financial Management Unit (FMU) made a presentation to highlight the reforms made in the recent past in various laws to counter money laundering and terrorist financing. DG (FMU) briefed that Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) was fully functional and proactively working in coordination with reporting entities, regulators, and law enforcement agencies as per international standards. He also shared the developments being made to establish a new integrated Data Centre at FMU which would be capable of handling online reports of Suspicious Transactions and Cash Transactions from reporting entities; analysis of such reports to generate meaningful financial intelligence; and dissemination to law enforcement agencies for investigation. He underscored the need for capacity building of law enforcement agencies to convert financial intelligence reports into successful investigations, prosecutions, convictions and forfeitures. DG FMU also informed the participants about the developments at the international forums such as FATF and APG with special reference to strengthen the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1267 and 1373 on terrorism financing.

The Finance Minister appreciated the work of FMU and advised to further strengthen the AML/CFT regime in Pakistan in consultation with the relevant stakeholders. He advised FMU to arrange capacity building workshops for the stakeholders so as to enable them to make better use of FMU’s financial intelligence. The Minister also encouraged the participants to approach FMU for assistance in the matter.

The meeting was attended by the senior officials from Ministry of Finance, Financial Monitoring Unit, NACTA, Ministry of Interior, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 
October 31, 2016 (PR No. 1864)

Finance Minister inaugurated 75th Plenary Meeting of International Cotton Advisory Committee

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar inaugurated the 75th Plenary Meeting of International Cotton Advisory Committee at Islamabad today. Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan and Dr. Farrukh Javed, Minister for Agriculture, Government of Punjab were also present on the occasion.

Over 130 delegates from 29 countries are in Islamabad to participate in the ICAC meeting. Addressing the meeting, the Finance Minister warmly welcomed the delegates and said that Pakistan holds an important position in the global cotton industry as it is the 4th largest cotton producer, 3rd largest cotton consumer and 2nd largest cotton yarn exporter in the world. He highlighted that Pakistan is one of the few countries in the world which have an entire textile value chain that is sophisticated and well integrated.

Finance Minister said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif the government is addressing the concerns of the agriculture and farmer community as a top priority and is fully committed to introducing latest agriculture technologies. He said that in this regard important amendments in Seed Act of 1976 have been undertaken. Further, Plant Breeders Right Bill has already been passed from the National Assembly and would soon be placed in Senate. He noted that due to global recession commodity prices remained subdued and the government has facilitated the farmers by providing direct support of Rs. 40 billion to the small farmers under Prime Minister’s Agriculture package.

Giving an overview of the economy, Senator Dar said that during the current financial year, GDP growth was recorded at 4.71% which is highest in last eight years. He said that for FY 2017, the government has a target for GDP growth of 5.5%, and firmly believes that increased agriculture production, especially cotton crop, will help in achieving this target. He noted that the forecasts for this year’s cotton crop are very encouraging.

The Finance Minister highlighted the steps taken by the government to improve exports from Pakistan as part of the annual budgets of FY 2013-17. These include zero rating of sales tax regime for five export oriented sectors including textile, duty free import of machinery, payment of pending sales tax refunds to those RPOs which have been approved upto 30.04.2016, reduction in mark-up rate under Export Finance Scheme from 8.4% to 3% and reduction in mark-up rate under Long Term Finance Facility by 4%.

The Executive Director ICAC Mr. Jose Settespeaking at the inaugural session thanked the government of Pakistan for hosting the conference and appreciated the excellent arrangements made to facilitate the international delegates of International Cotton Advisory Committee to hold its 75th Plenary Meeting in Islamabad, from October 30 to November 4. He said that Pakistan was an important player in the cotton industry and ICAC members are grateful to government of Pakistan for hosting this most important event of the world cotton calendar and look forward to a fruitful and productive week of discussions.

The Finance Minister said that the topic of the ICAC meeting, “Enhancing Sustainability in Cotton Value Chain”, provides an ideal international platform to exchange ideas and develop policy guidelines. The inaugural session was attended by Secretaries of Federal government Divisions, senior officials and representatives of the cotton growing and textile industry.

 
October 31, 2016 (PR No. 1863)

Standard & Poor's upgrades Pakistan's Credit Rating

Finance Minister congratulates Prime Minister and the nation on improvement of country rating by Standard & Poor.

  • Standard & Poor’s has improved Pakistan’s long-term credit rating from B-to-B with stable outlook. This comes as a result of the government’s improved policymaking, strong performance of the economy and the good prospects for the country’s fiscal and external positions.
  •  Standard & Poor’s has highlighted that Pakistan continues to benefit from improving governance under the present Government of the Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. The government’s reform program has helped to restore macro-economic stability, reduce fiscal and external vulnerabilities, and promote growth-supporting reforms that have the potential to improve living standards.
  • Standard & Poor’s while issuing Pakistan’s revised rating has also revised upward its forecasts of:
  • Average annual GDP growth to 5% over 2016-2019 from the earlier estimate of 4.7%.
  • Pakistan’s debt to fall below 60% of GDP by 2018.

The upward revision in rating, the Agency contends, also reflects the Government’s continued focus on closing infrastructure shortfalls, reforms in the energy sector, gradual gains in fiscal consolidation and beefed up foreign exchange reser

 
October 31, 2016 (PR No. 1862)

Press Conference by Finance Minister on economic matters

The Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, held a press conference here on Monday to announce a host of important economic initiatives.

Announcing the petroleum process effective 1stNovember 2016, the Finance Minister said that in keeping with the Prime Ministers instructions to provide maximum relief to the consumers, it has been decided that the prices of all products will be maintained at the current level of MS Petrol Rs 64.27, HSD Rs 72.52, Kerosene Rs 43.25, LDO Rs 43.34for the month of November 2016. OGRA had recommended per litre increase in all products, ie, MS Petrol Rs 2.29, HSD Rs 2.00, Kerosene 6.75, LDO Rs. 6.40.

According to calculations of Ministry of Petroleum the current price of HOBC is Rs. 72.68 per litre is likely to increase by Rs. 9.82 to Rs. 82.50 per litre. However the Prime Minister has also approved that the price of HOBC may also be maintained at the current level for the month of November 2016.

The Finance Minister also gave the following comparison of the General Sales Tax collected by the previous democratic government in March 2013 (Rs per Litre) and the GST approved for these products for November 2016:

Product

01-03-2013

01-11-2016
(Proposed)

MS (PETROL)

14.70

9.10

HSD

15.66

17.99

KEROSENE

14.30

0.85

LDO

13.55

0.85

HOBC

19.32

10.56

He said that the government has not increased the prices since April 2016 and will continue to maintain the prices for November 2016 as well. Finance Minister said that maintaining prices of petroleum products at the current level is having a negative financial impact on revenue collection. But this impact will be borne by the government to provide petroleum products to the end consumer at stable price.

The Finance Minister announced that, pursuant to the promise made by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif due process has been completed for issuance of sales tax refunds, amounting to Rs. 25 billion, for Refund Payment Orders (RPOs) issued up to June 30, 2016. He said that payments of these refunds shall be made to the recipients within the next seven days. He said that, for the first time ever, these refunds shall be paid directly into the accounts of the refund recipients, in order to save them from the inconvenience of depositing and clearing cheques. He said that the State Bank of Pakistan is making the necessary arrangements in this regard. He also stated that a focal person has been nominated at FBR for the refunds. Finance Minister said that all complaints in delays or difficulty in obtaining these sales tax refunds can be addressed to FBR focal person at strefund@fbr.gov.pk

The Finance Minister also provided an update regarding the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, which Pakistan signed in July 2016. He said that Pakistan’s signing of the Convention reaffirms the government’s commitment to fight tax fraud and evasion at the international level, and under lines Pakistan’s pledge to exchange information under the automatic exchange provisions of the Convention. He said that Pakistan’s integration with the rest of the world though the Convention will enable availability, on a reciprocal basis, of banking and other information about its residents and nationals from other Parties to the Convention. He said that for the Convention to come into force, it has to be ratified by the President of Pakistan and the Instrument of Ratification has to be deposited with the OECD along with required annexures. He said that the Federal Cabinet is expected to grant approval for ratification of the Convention on November 02, 2016, after which the instrument of ratification will be issued with approval of the President of Pakistan and will subsequently be deposited with the OECD. 

The Finance Minister also informed that the Draft Companies Bill, 2016 has been finalized after extensive consultations with all stakeholders, and is ready for presentation to the Cabinet for further legislative processing. He said that the Draft Bill emphasizes use of technology at all levels including filing of documents to SECP electronically, supply of documents to members electronically, voting through e-ballot, participation in meetings through video link, and conversion of physical shares into book-entry form. He stated that in order to address challenges posed by off-shore companies, an enhanced disclosure regime for officers and members of those companies has been provided under the Draft Bill, while stringent penalties have been introduced in cases of false or non-disclosure. He said that the Draft Bill also introduces other reforms such as simplification of the Memorandum, passing of members’ resolution through circulation, and the amalgamation of wholly owned subsidiaries in the holding company without any approval. He further informed that the Draft Bill also introduces Agriculture Promotion Company as a new type of a company, in order to promote the agriculture sector.

 
October 31, 2016 (PR No. 1861)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting of Economic Coordination Committee

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.

ECC considered and approved the summary moved by the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions for the provision of 50,000 Metric Tons of wheat costing Rs.2.007 Billion to the United Nations World Food Program for the temporarily displaced people of FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The approved quantity will be distributed to the target population from December 2016 to June 2017. It is worth mentioning that the quantity is the second such approval after the provision of 124,000 metric tons of wheat costing Rs. 4.977 billion to the displaced population; the stocks from the earlier grant will be exhausted in November as reported by the World Food Program.

ECC also approved, after detailed briefing by the Ministry of Water and Power, the issuance of second revised Government of Pakistan Sovereign Guarantees up to Rs. 30612.60 million for the 425 MW Nandipur power project. These guarantees will remain valid till 31st May 2017.

In view of the growing needs of the country for energy, ECC considered and approved the proposal sent by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, for the setting up of the LPG Air Mix Plants at Murree (Kurbagla, Dewal, Company Bagh and Tret), Awaran and Bella at an estimated cost of Rs. 1353.29 million to be funded by the respective Gas Utility Companies (SSGCL and SNGPL) through their own resources. For the housing colonies the private sector is free to establish their own LPG Air Mix plants subject to the fulfillment of all codal formalities such as OGRA licensing, explosive licenses etc. it was also decided that in addition to the above mentioned plants 30 new Air mix plants each on SSGCL and SNGPL system will be constructed in the areas of AJK, Chitral, Gilgit Baltistan and backward areas of Balochistan as the development of these areas is the first priority of the government. The setting up of the LPG Air Mix Plants will save these areas from the rapid deforestation in these areas.

ECC also approved and ordered the notification of the Price Negotiation Committee (PNC) for the LNG supplies from Malaysia, Russia, France, Italy, Oman and Azerbaijan in the wake of the growing demand of energy in the country.. ECC also decided that the PNC will engage with all the energy supplying companies in the process to finalize the best deal for the country.

ECC also approved the proposal by Ministry of Water and Power for utilization of power generated through captive power plants, as a short term measure, in order to optimize use of available generation in the coming summers of 2017 and 2018. The measure taken by the Ministry will add around 300_600MW to the National grid on the following conditions:

  • Plants having capacity of 03 MW or above on gas, furnace oil, coal, bagasse and other fuels/sources will be offered energy purchase under this policy.
  • Tariff shall be based on take and pay basis and electricity actually delivered to the national grid
  • These plants shall not be entitled for any capacity charges/payments.
 
October 30, 2016 (PR No. 1860)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the progress on revenue collection and performance of FBR

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here on Sunday to review the progress on revenue collection and performance of FBR for the month of October 2016.

Chairman FBR Mr. Nisar Muhammad Khan briefed the Minister with an update on the monthly revenue collection. He also apprised the Finance Minister on the progress on filing of annual tax returns.

The Finance Minister directed the Federal Board of Revenue to resolve all difficulties being faced by the tax payers in filing of their Tax Returns. He directed that tax filers should be facilitated to ensure timely submission of Tax Returns.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and FBR attended the meeting.

 
October 30, 2016 (PR No. 1859)

MOS for CADD called on the Finance Minister

The Minister of State for Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), Dr. Tariq Fazal Chaudhary, called on the Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, here on Sunday.

Dr. Tariq Fazal briefed the Finance Minister on the development projects being undertaken by his Division in the capital area. He further updated the Minister on the steps taken by the Capital Administration Division to improve facilities for the public.

The Finance Minister appreciated the efforts of CADD for uplift of the capital area and improvement of the service delivery to the citizens of the capital area especially in the provision of the education and health services. He urged Dr Tariq Fazal for timely completion of all ongoing projects in the capital area.
Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.

 
October 28, 2016 (PR No. 1858)

Delegation of Kissan Ittehad called on the Finance Minister

A four member delegation of the Pakistan Kissan Ittehad led by Mr. Khalid Mahmood Khokhar called on the Finance Minister Senator Mohamamd Ishaq Dar here today. Mr. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Minister for National Food Security and Secretary to the Prime Minister MrFawad  HasanFawadwas also present on the occasion.

The Finance Minister welcomed the delegation of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad and said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif keeps the agriculture community close to his heart. He said that the present government has taken historical steps in agriculture sector including Prime Minister’s Kissan Package 2015 and unprecedented measures during the National Budget this year.

Chairman Pakistan Kissan Ittehad appreciated the commitment of the present government and the steps taken so far for agriculture sector. He highlighted the challenges faced by the agriculture sector and sought support of the federal government for protecting the interests of the farming community.

The Finance Minister assured the delegation that the government was cognizant of difficulties of the agricultural sector in the context of decrease in global commodity prices. He stressed upon the delegation for enhancing our crop yield and farm productivity through mechanization and adoption of best practices. The Minister invited the delegation to engage in a sustained policy dialogue with the government for designing future interventions in the agriculture sector.

The Minster said that the government is determined to create a facilitating and supportive environment for farmers. The Minister assured the delegation that further improvement in Research & Development for enhancing agriculture output in the country is being undertaken.The Finance Minister appreciated the valuable role played by Minister for National Food Security on facilitating the farming community and reiterated government support for the agriculture sector.

Secretary National Food Security, Secretary Industries and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.

 
October 28, 2016 (PR No. 1857)

Finance Minister launched the Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (PMIC) in Islamabad

Federal Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar launched the Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (PMIC) in Islamabad.

The Finance Minister said the government fully recognizes that financial inclusion can be a strong impetus for economic growth in Pakistan. He said that the National Financial Inclusion Strategy launched on May 2015 was a pivotal step to address the financial services needs of the poor and underserved segments in Pakistan. The Minister said that the government’s economic policies under the able leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif have put the country on the road to macroeconomic stability and now our target is to achieve a higher sustainable and inclusive growth.

Senator Dar apprised that the growth momentum continues to remain above 4% for the 3rd year in a row with real GDP growing at 4.71% in FY 2016 and target of 5.5% for the current fiscal year.

The British High Commissioner congratulated the Finance Minister on his leadership to establish the PMIC and said that micro-finance will have a key role to play in export led growth for Pakistan. The German Ambassador appreciated the patronage of the Finance Minister to establish PMIC and said that the German government is proud to support the PMIC initiative as it fits well into Germany’s objective of supporting technology startups and green energy through microfinance initiatives worldwide. 

Finance Minister appreciated the partnership of the British and German governments in establishing PMIC with a total equity of Rs6+. 6.00 billion in which government of Pakistan through the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund has a shareholding of 49%, DFID through Karandaaz holds 37% shares and German Development Bank KfW has a 14% share. He said that PMIC will provide access to finance to the underserved poor segments of the society who have difficulty in accessing financing for development of income generating activities. He urged that the fundamental objective of PMIC is to offer small loans and other financial services with the aim to graduate the youth of Pakistan from cash transfer social safety nets to income generating sustainable livelihoods.

While addressing the ceremony, the Finance Minister said that the potential market for micro-finance in Pakistan is 20-25 million. He expressed pleasure that the seed PM- N Government sowed in the shape of setting up PPAF in 1997 has become a tall tree, providing shade and livelihoods to the poor of country. Appreciating the dedication of CEO and officials of PPAF the Minister said that as a result of hard work over the years, the micro-finance sector in Pakistan now serves around 3.5 million borrowers and will serve at least 10 million borrowers by 2020 through institutional structures like the PMIC.

Chairman PMIC Zubyr Soomro, CEO PPAF Qazi Asmat Issa and CEO of PMIC also spoke on the occasion and appreciated the support of the Ministry of Finance; State Bank of Pakistan, the SECP and Competition Commission of Pakistan is setting up the regulatory and corporate structure of PMIC. The launch ceremony was attended by a large number of dignitaries including British High Commissioner, German Ambassador to Pakistan, senior officials from Ministry of Finance, Chairman SECP, representatives of PPAF, DFID, KfW, multilateral institutions, academia and business community.

 
October 27, 2016 (PR No. 1856)

Finance Minister congratulated his team on successful holding and conclusion of the high profile events in Islamabad

Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization chaired a meeting of the officials of Economic Affairs Division and Finance Division today.

The Minister congratulated his team on successful holding and conclusion of the high profile events in Islamabad during the current week which included visits of Ms. Christine Lagarde Managing Director IMF, Mr. Takehiko Nakao President ADB and the 15th CAREC Ministerial conference, as well as the recent successful launching of US $ 1 billion international sukuk.

The Finance Minister acknowledged and appreciated the hard work and dedication of the officials and coordinated efforts of both Divisions for making these events a success. He said that the Managing Director IMF and President ADB had both noted the economic progress in Pakistan which has taken place due to the sound economic policies of the government.

More than 160 Ministers and senior officials from 11 central Asian member states of CAREC attended the 2 day 15th CAREC conference in Islamabad. Finance Minister remarked that economic stability achieved by Pakistan in the last three years was being acknowledged by the whole world and the recent high profile visits of MD IMF and President ADB were a testimony to this effect. He urged the officials to continue their commitment to ensure sustained economic progress of Pakistan and its people.

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

 
October 26, 2016 (PR No. 1855)

15th Ministerial Conference of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC)

The 15th Ministerial Conference of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) with the theme “Linking Connectivity with Economic Transformation in CAREC” was held here. Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the Ministerial Conference with Vice President Asian Development Bank (ADB) Mr. Wencai Zhang as co-chair. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif graced the inaugural session of the Ministerial Conference. President, ADB Mr. Takehiko Nakao was also present on the occasion.

Senator Dar appreciated the leadership of President Nakao and thanked him for the continued commitment of ADB to support economic cooperation and development amongst CAREC member states. He welcomed the Ministers and senior officials from ten member states, i.e, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan who are attending this conference. 

Senator Ishaq Dar also warmly welcomed Georgia, the newest and 11th member of the CAREC family and said that it was a memorable occasion that Georgia joined the CAREC family at the 15th Ministerial conference hosted in Pakistan. Mr. Genadi Arveladze, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia presented remarks on behalf of his country and formally joined the Ministerial conference.

Multilateral and International development agencies including International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNDP, Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), USAID, DFID of UK, EBRD and WTO participated in the meeting. Representatives of these agencies expressed their continued support to the CAREC forum and congratulated Pakistan for holding the 15th Ministerial conference, stating that it is a sign of the country’s commitment towards regional cooperation, increased connectivity, shared prosperity and elimination of poverty.

Finance Minister while chairing the meeting gave an overview of Pakistan’s economy and said that all key macroeconomic indicators have recorded significant improvement in the country over the past three years. He underlined that improvement in fiscal sustainability, foreign exchange reserve position, and governance structures, has led to the emergence of Pakistan as a trustworthy and long-term destination for global partnerships, collaboration and investment. He said that Pakistan is now well positioned to play a pivotal role in enhancing economic cooperation between CAREC member states. He emphasized the importance of developing road, rail and energy corridors within the CAREC countries and said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will complement the regional connectivity initiatives of CAREC countries as it offers a massive opportunity for connectivity between Central Asia, Middle East and Africa and is bound to play a defining role in the economic development of CAREC region. 

The Finance Minister said that the conference provides a valuable opportunity for enhancement of regional ties in four areas of CAREC focus, i.e, Energy, Transportation, Trade Policy and Trade Facilitation.  Minister Dar said that infrastructure development was a prerequisite to increased growth and urged the multilateral partners to increase their development collaboration with CARERC member states in this area to bridge the financing gaps. 

Representatives from all participating countries expressed their condolence to the Finance Minister on the loss of life and the tragedy which struck the Quetta Police Training College. They expressed solidarity with Pakistan in these times of grief.

The Ministerial Conference was followed by a CAREC Ministerial Retreat with Finance Minister of Pakistan and President ADB in chair. The participants exchanged candid views and ideas to explore maximum opportunities to ensure better economic cooperation and regional connectivity among the CAREC Member countries and resolved to undertake all the challenges collectively. They expressed gratitude to the government of Pakistan for the hospitality and congratulated the Finance Minister for successful conduct of all activities within the CAREC program.

 
October 26, 2016 (PR No. 1854)

Asian development bank to provide US$ 250 million For "Regional Improvement of border services project"

Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, the Finance Minister on October 26, 2016 witnessed the signing ceremony between the Government of Pakistan and Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a Loan agreement of US$ 250 million for Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) “Regional Improvement of border services project”. The signing ceremony was held in the local hotel after 15th CAREC ministerial Conference.

Speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister thanked ADB for providing support to Pakistan in the border management sector. He assured Pakistan’s commitment to mobilize all possible resources for improving and developing regional connectivity and linkages particularly with Afghanistan and Central Asian Region. Furthermore he mentioned that Government of Pakistan is very much keen to enhance economic cooperation with Central Asia.

The components of the project are; Development of physical infrastructure at border crossing points; provision of equipments (scanner, weigh-bridges etc); IT hardware & soft ware support-transition to single window system; Streamlining cross border procedures and capacity development.

The objectives of the project are; to adopt single window system for integrated and coordinated management of borders; increase trade and transit cargo through border crossing points; efficient cross border processing of goods and people and modernize border crossing points.

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

 
October 26, 2016 (PR No. 1853)

Welcome remarks by Finance Minister at 15th CAREC Ministerial Conference, Islamabad

Download Welcome remarks by Finance Minister at 15th CAREC Ministerial Conference, Islamabad

 
October 25, 2016 (PR No. 1852)

Pakistan in the Top Ten Reformers in the Doing Business Report 2017

Pakistan’s performance in the Doing Business 2017 has improved, indicating that the country is now more business friendly for small and medium sized enterprises. In the latest report Pakistan has been recognized as one of the top ten economies globally making the biggest improvements in their business regulations and not only this, Pakistan is the only South Asian economy to make it to the list this year. The country has jumped four ranks from its position last year from 148 to 144 out of 190 countries under the revised methodology introduced this year. To assess the country’s current year’s performance against its own last year, it is important to look at Distance to Frontier Score in the Doing Business methodology. Pakistan has improved on this metric as well where Pakistan’s score went up from 49.48 in Doing Business 2016 to 51.77 in Doing Business 2017, using a comparable methodology as a result of reforms in all the areas covered by Doing Business.

ü  Pakistan was the sole economy in South Asia to reform property transfers. Under the Land Records Management and Information System, a program has been developed and deployed to strengthen the capacity of land administration institutions in Lahore. During a five-year period, the project deployed an automated land records system and improved the quality of services provided by the land agency.
ü  Pakistan improved access to credit information guaranteeing by law borrowers’ rights to inspect their own data. The credit bureau also expanded the borrower coverage. This reform applies to both Lahore and Karachi.

ü  Pakistan made trading across borders easier by enhancing its electronic web-based customs platform. This reform applies to both Lahore and Karachi.

The reforms have been spear headed by the Finance Minister and the Committee on the Ease of Doing Business through development and implementation of a National Doing Business Reform Strategy. The Strategy outlines reform actions under each of the 10 scored indicators covered in the Doing Business reports.

The strategy is the result of consultative process led by the Ministry of Finance with involvement from concerned Federal and Provincial Government agencies including key Institutions, Board of Investment, Federal Board of Revenue and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

The reforms focus on regulatory changes and improving technology and building capacity of implementing agencies for simplification of procedures involved in making businesses operational. They have been designed to effectively address critical bottlenecks faced by a small and medium sized enterprise during all stages of its lifecycle. The Finance Minister said, “Implementation of the time bound reforms under this Strategy over the next 2 years is expected to significantly improve the country’s business environment and act as a catalyst for increasing both domestic and foreign investment.”

 
October 25, 2016 (PR No. 1851)

Chinese Delegation headed by Vice Minister for Finance China called on Finance Minister

A Chinese delegation, headed by Mr. Liu Kun, Vice Minister for Finance China called on Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar here in Islamabad today.

The Finance Minister welcomed the Vice Minister for participation in CAREC conference.    The Minister said that Pakistan is looking forward to work together with China and other regional countries to make CAREC a success. The Minister said that the joint initiative of CPEC will bring shared prosperity to Pakistan and China and other regional countries shall also benefit from it. The Minister assured the visiting delegation that Pakistan will support initiatives proposed by China for the betterment of region under CAREC umbrella. The Minister appreciated the growing institutional interaction between China and Pakistan. The Finance Minister said that these ties will grow further in the future.
The Vice Minister conveyed the personal regards and best wishes of the Finance Minister of China Mr. Lou Jiwei. The Vice Minister Mr. Liu Kun said that CPEC reflects vision of top leadership of China and Pakistan. He further added that it is very wise and far sighted on the part of Pakistan’s leadership to invest and focus on transport and energy sectors which are necessary for growth.

The meeting was attended by officials of Ministries of Finance Pakistan and China.

 
October 25, 2016 (PR No. 1850)

Mr. Takehiko Nakao, President ADB called on Finance Minister

Mr. Takehiko Nakao, President of the Asian Development Bank called on the Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here this morning for official talks.

The Finance Minister welcomed the guest and felicitated him on his nomination for a second term as the President of the Asian Development Bank. He appreciated the leadership of President Nakao in development of pro-growth programs of the ADB. The Finance Minister also expressed his grief and sadness on the latest attack on Police Training College in Quetta.

President ADB, Mr. Nakao offered his condolences on the sad incident that took place in Quetta last night. He said that he was greatly grieved to hear the news of the incident. He also said that such incidents are shocking but the world acknowledges the remarkable resilience shown by the government and people of Pakistan for eliminating terrorism.

President Nakao is visiting Pakistan for official talks with the Finance Minister on the Asian Development Bank’s country partnership and for attending the 15th Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) conference which the government of Pakistan is hosting with the collaboration of the ADB on 25-26 October, 2016.

The Finance Minister gave an overview of recent economic developments that have taken place in Pakistan and the reform process which the government has rigorously followed to revamp the economy.ADB President congratulated the Finance Minister for leading the reforms under the IMF program. Speaking about plans of the Asian Development Bank on future cooperation with Pakistan, he said that the completion of the three year IMF reform is seen as Pakistan’s commitment to economic stability. He said that with high forex reserves, single digit inflation, and high growth projectionsADB considers Pakistan an excellent development partner.

The Finance Minister said that Pakistan places a high value on its partnership with ADB.He said that the government is placing special focus on the development of energy and infrastructure projects in the country. He invited the ADB to partner with Pakistan in development of economically viable infrastructure projects. The Minister said that the government has successfully put in place policies resulting in a strong macro-economic framework which will provide a platform for higher growth and increased social sector spending.

President ADB said that given the strong economic credentials of Pakistan and forecasting the country’s growth trajectory, the ADB is actively considering to increase its development assistance in infrastructure, roads and railways, port facilities, railways and energy sector in Pakistan.He also added that Pakistan’s inclusion in the Morgan Stanley Index for emerging economies was a testament of international investors to the transformation of Pakistan to a stable economy.

Senator Ishaq Dar expressed hope that the CAREC Ministerial conference will help facilitate further synergy between member states for enhancing economic integration within the Central Asia region.
The meeting was attended by Governor SBP, Secy EAD, Secy Finance, Secy Water & Power, Secy Statistics, Vice President Asian Development Bank, Alternate Exec Director for Pakistan to ADB Mr Same Saeed and senior officials from the Asian Development Bank.

 
October 24, 2016 (PR No. 1849)

Meeting of the Finance Minister with MD IMF

Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director IMF stated that “Pakistan has graduated with success” from a frontier market to an emerging market during the last three years and that inclusion of Pakistan in the Morgan Stanley MSCI Index is a signal from the global financial markets that Pakistan can be placed amongst the world’s emerging economies.She said this during her meeting with Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar  and the economic team here today.

Ms. Christine Lagarde Managing Director International Monetary Fund, (IMF)is on a two day visit to Pakistan on the invitation of the Finance Minister. The Finance Minister welcomed the dignitary to Pakistan during the official talks and said that the economic reform agenda adopted by the government since coming to office in 2013 was part of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) election manifesto. He said that it had been possible to undertake the challenge of economic reform during the last three years due to the sterling support and visionary guidance of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The Finance Minister briefed the MD IMF on the steps taken to overcome the energy shortages in the country, to eliminate extremism, stabilize the economy and initiatives regarding provision of education and health related social safety nets. He said that fiscal consolidation due to prudent fiscal policies had given fiscal space to the government to increase development spending from Rs 300 billion to Rs 800 billion. He said that the government has taken on the challenge to eliminate extremism in the country and appreciated the role of the armed forces in their relentless efforts for elimination of terrorism in Pakistan.

 She congratulated the Finance Minister for setting in place a strong macroeconomic framework and said that this foundation possesses the drivers for sustained growth. She acknowledged that in these times of slow global growth, the government’s ambitious development plan has provided the country withan opportune moment to emerge as a middle income country with a resilient economy and sustained growth. MD IMF noted that Pakistan had undertaken deep rooted structural reforms during the three-year Extended Fund Facility of the IMF, including reduction in budget deficit, reform of the power sector, broadening of tax base and improvement in revenue collection.

The Finance Minister said that the government was now focusing on further expansion of the revenue base, improving export competitiveness and business climate, ensuring expansion of social safety nets, gender mainstreaming, building infrastructure and ensuring skill based education for the youth of the country.  He stressed that the government has acquired strong economic fundamentals and was now in a position to focus on further aligning its policies to meet the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Ms Lagarde thanked the Finance Minister for the warm hospitality extended to her and her delegation. She said the though Pakistan had completed the IMF Extended Fund Facility, the IMF would continue its partnership with the government in providing technical support and sharing international best practices.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Water & Power Khawaja Asif, Minister of State for Information Technology Ms. Anusha Rehman, SA to PM on Revenue, Governor SBP, Secretary Finance, Secretary EAD, Chairman FBR, Mr. Masood Ahmed Director MCD IMF, Mr Harald Finger Mission Chief Pakistan, Executive Director for Pakistan IMF Mr. Jafar Mojarrad, Senior Advisor IMF Mr. Shahid Mahmood and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.

 
October 24, 2016 (PR No. 1848)

Joint Press Release - Ministry of Finance and State Bank of Pakistan

Hard work and reforms are starting to pay off: says MD IMF “This is a moment of opportunity for Pakistan, a country undergoing an economic transformation that can place it well among the ranks of emerging market economies,’ stated Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. She said that given a subdued external environment with global growth remaining too low for too long, Pakistan will need to rely on the strength of its own policies to generate more jobs and improve living conditions. The main priorities are to reinforce Pakistan’s economic resilience and put in place reforms for higher and more inclusive growth.

Ms. Lagarde was addressing the seminar as the key note speaker organized by the Ministry of Finance and State Bank of Pakistan titled, ‘Emerging Markets in the World Economy’ on 24th October in a local hotel here in Islamabad.

Adding further, she said that costly and inefficient subsidies were reduced. ‘These subsidies disproportionately benefited the more affluent. And the accumulation of power sector arrears, also known as circular debt, has also significantly decreased. These are major achievements,’ she said. ‘There have been equally important achievements on the budget revenue side. By closing tax loopholes and setting up a more targeted approach to widen the tax base, revenue collection improved by 2 ½ percent of GDP over the past three years.’ She remarked. “Indeed, the hard work and reforms are starting to pay off. Pakistan was recently upgraded from a frontier economy to an emerging market in the MSCI index. This is an important signal given the changing global landscape, where economic dynamism has gradually been shifting from advanced to emerging market economies. The significant success achieved by Pakistan in raising a $1 billion in Sukuk on a competitive pricing is also a reflection of international investors’ confidence on what has been achieved. She urged Pakistan to continue to remain on the path of reforms, as this is the right strategy to ward-off against any future risks.’

The Finance Minister, Senator Mohammed Ishaq Dar giving an overview of the economy and welcoming the MD IMF said that her visit to Pakistan was an acknowledgement of the economic reform agenda undertaken by the government during the last three years during which Pakistan has moved to the macro-economic stability road from a position of instability, which prevailed in 2013. The major factor which led to the successful completion of the program is the election Manifesto of April 2013 of the Pakistan Muslim League (N), which provided a roadmap of economic reforms to be followed after winning the general elections 2013 under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and formed the basis of economic policies of our government including our negotiation with the IMF for the Extended Fund Facility.

Pakistan’s economy continues to maintain its growth momentum above 4.0 percent for the 3rd year in a row with real GDP growing at 4.71 percent in FY 2016, which is the highest in eight years. Inflation has been brought down to single digit at 2.86 percent in FY 2016, the lowest in decades. Prudent fiscal and effective monetary policies, coupled with regular monitoring of prices both at federal and provincial level, along with decline in international commodities and fuel prices, has helped in containing inflation. The present government also passed on the benefits of reduction in international oil prices to consumers.

Our government’s strong commitment to supporting the poor and most vulnerable segments of our population is reflected in our social protection initiatives. This government has nearly doubled the budget allocated to the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), Pakistan’s largest social protection initiative, which has enabled increase in coverage from 3.7 million families to 5.6 million families.

Welcoming the guest, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Mr. Ashraf Mahmood Wathra said Ms. Lagarde has not only led the IMF judiciously during a time of global economic and financial stress, but it has been under her leadership that the IMF has forged successful collaborations with many emerging countries for their economic betterment.

In his opening speech the Governor highlighted the conditions leading to a balance of payment crisis and under which Pakistan entered into an IMF’s External Fund Facility Program back in 2013. ‘The economy was mired in persistent energy deficiencies, declining development expenditures, rising inflation, and meager foreign exchange reserves,’ said the governor. ‘As a result, the country’s economic potential was on the decline and investor confidence was badly shaken,’ he added

Mr. Wathra also briefly mentioned financial sector reforms carried out during incumbent regime to restore much needed macroeconomic stability and investors’ confidence. Governor Wathra remarked with that with rising growth, stability and consolidation of reforms, the future for Pakistan is very promising.

 
October 22, 2016 (PR No. 1847)

Finance Minister Dar chaired a meeting to Review preparations for CAREC meeting

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting to Review preparations for CAREC meeting at the Finance Ministry here today.

The Finance Minister was briefed about arrangements for the conference and receiving foreign dignitaries. The Minister said that conference will play vital role in the economic development of the CAREC area. The CAREC will begin an era of economic cooperation and integration of the CAREC area.

The Economic Affairs Division in collaboration with the Asian Development (ADB) will host 15th Ministerial Conference of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) countries (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Georgia as an observer) on 26th October, 2016 at Islamabad. Approximately, 200 participants from 10 member countries and multilateral development partners will attend the events. The MD-IMF and president ADB will be also participating in the event.

The meeting looked into arrangements made for the visits of dignitaries that will be participating in the event. The meeting explored ways to make the visits and conference productive and meaningful.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, and State Bank.

 
October 21, 2016 (PR No. 1846)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review arrangements for the launch of Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company

Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance chaired a meeting to review arrangements for the launch of Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (PMIC) by end of this month. He was briefed on the operationalization of the PMIC and the shareholding structure with development partners including the UK’s DFID and KFW from Germany.

Finance Minister said that the PMIC is a key component of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy. He said that it was the top most priority of the government to provide microcredit to underserved segments of the society. He said that institutions like PMIC will ensure sustainable and inclusive growth and hoped that it will be a befitting graduation of beneficiaries of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF).

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.

 
October 20, 2016 (PR No. 1845)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review arrangements for international events planned for the next week

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here today to review arrangements for international events planned for the next week. These include visit by  Ms. Christine Laragrde, Managing Director International Monetary Fund and Mr. Takehiko Nakao, President Asian Development Bank as well as 15th Ministerial conference of Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) being held in Islamabad.

Officials of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Division briefed the Finance Minister on the overall arrangements for the CAREC conference and high profile visits in a befitting manner.

Finance Minister said that the CAREC conference will provide member countries an important opportunity to further collaborate in areas of mutual interest to improve regional cooperation. Delegations from CAREC states including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Georgia will participate in the CAREC Ministerial conference.

Finance Minister added that the high profile visits as well as CAREC conference is the proof of the confidence of the international development partners in the strength of Pakistan's economy. He said that the government is committed to ensure that the growth rate is sustainable as well as inclusive and that Pakistan become a destination of choice for international investors.

Finance Minister directed that the relevant ministries and departments should coordinate closely to ensure success of the planned international events.

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

 
October 19, 2016 (PR No. 1844)

Mr.Tian Guoli, Chairman Bank of China called on the Finance Minister

Mr.Tian Guoli Chairman Bank of China (BOC) along with a delegation of senior officials called on the Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today.

Chairman Bank of China apprised the Finance Minister that he had witnessed the potential of Pakistan’s economy during his current three day visit and commended the government on the difficult steps taken to improve Pakistan’s economic outlook on both the domestic and international fora. He said that the reforms undertaken by the government were deep rooted and expressed full support from Bank of China to collaborate with the government of Pakistan to achieve further success and milestones in its economic reform agenda. He added that various Chinese companies were exploring opportunities to move their manufacturing to Pakistan.

Finance Minister appreciated the Bank’s interest in business opportunities in Pakistan. He said that Bank of China being one of world’s five largest banks was well positioned to bring investment to Pakistan. He said that the government is laying the foundations of a strong pro-business environment through national infrastructure projects which will stimulate further growth of the economy. Further, he appraised the delegation on the incentives which can be made available through Special Economic Zones.

Finance Minister welcomed the initiative of opening a Bank of China branch in Pakistan and assured full support from the government in this regard. He expressed hope that this initiative will likely motivate more Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan directly.

SAPM on Revenue, Secretary Finance, Secretary EAD and senior officials of Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.

 
October 19, 2016 (PR No. 1843)

Mr. Talal Abu Ghazaleh, a global leader and entrepreneur in digital and Information Technology, called on the Finance Minister

Mr. Talal Abu Ghazaleh, a global leader and entrepreneur in digital and Information Technology, called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar here today.

Finance Minister welcomed the visiting dignitary and praised him for his outstanding services for the Muslim Ummah. Mr. Abu Ghazaleh has had the distinction of being Senator in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and has rendered meritorious services for the Muslim world in the field of education, business, entrepreneurship, innovation and technology.

Mr. Talal Abu Ghazaleh congratulated the Finance Minister on Pakistan’s economic turnaround in the last three years and said that there were tremendous investment and business opportunities in Pakistan. The Minister apprised him on the steps taken by the government to improve the business climate and said that it was now government’s priority to further improve the Ease of Doing Business indicator. He said Pakistan was receiving international recognition for creating the right atmosphere for international businesses to invest in the country.

Appreciating increased digital outreach in Pakistan, Mr. Talal Abu Ghazaleh said that fast expansion of information technology services to far flung areas of Pakistan and healthy market competition provides considerable opportunities for establishing new businesses in Pakistan.

Finance Minister welcomed the visiting dignitary’s interest in investing in Pakistan and assured that the government would provide full support and assistance to foreign investors. He opined that it was time now to invest substantially in the IT and Telecom sector and move towards a knowledge economy in the country.

Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication Ms. Anusha Rehman, senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of IT attended the meeting.

 
October 19, 2016 (PR No. 1842)

US Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Michael Froman called on the Finance Minister

US Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Michael Froman called on the Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here yesterday. Welcoming the dignitary to Pakistan, the Finance Minister apprised Ambassador Froman on the reforms undertaken by the Government for stabilization and growth of the economy. He informed that Pakistan has undergone considerable tax reforms resulting in expansion of tax base which resulted in record tax revenue collection in the last three years. He said that Pakistan has also made significant progress in meeting shortfall in energy and overcoming security situation of the country. Ambassador Froman congratulated the Finance Minister on successful completion of IMF Program. He appreciated the measure taken by the present Government to turn around the economy.  He acknowledged the improved investment climate and economic conditions in Pakistan and expressed full support to measures necessary for strengthening bilateral trade ties.

The Finance Minister stated that Investment Policy2013 of the country aimed at reducing of processes and improving ease of doing business and that all economic sectors were open to Foreign Direct Investment. He urged the US Government to continue facilitating private US investment in Pakistan. Finance Minister also highlighted the key legislation being undertaken by the present Government in the fields of Anti-Money Laundering, Counter Terrorism and Companies Law. Finance Minister also stated that Pakistan has recently become a signatory to OECD’s Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance on tax matters.  The Minister appreciated the value of US as a trade partner and expressed the hope that bilateral trade would grow further as there was immense potential.He encouraged further US investment in Pakistan and said that all possible efforts are being made to ensure that a level playing field is accorded to international companies working in Pakistan and that doors remained open for further US companies’ investment and expansion in Pakistan.

Ambassador Froman said that Pakistan’s IT infrastructure was growing at a commendable pace and this is visibly providing opportunities for growth to SME’s through e Commerce. He thanked the Finance Minister for Pakistan’s active engagement in the Trade and Services Agreement (TISA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and said that Pakistan was leading in this area in the region. He said that the US looked forward to further collaboration with Pakistan in the development of digital economy which can provide opportunities to far flung areas of Pakistan.

The meeting was attended by US Ambassador David Hale,Deputy USTR Vogel, Chairman Board of Investment, Miftah Ismail, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar, Secretary Finance, Secretary Commerce, and Chairman FBR.
 
October 18, 2016 (PR No. 1841)

Finance Minister directed FBR to approach tax havens for obtaining information on those involved in Panama and Bahamas Leaks

Finance Minister chaired a meeting here today to review the actions taken on Panama and Bahamas leaks by the Federal Board of Revenue, State Bank of Pakistan and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. Mr. Haroon Akhtar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue was also present on the occasion.

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar directed Chairman FBR to approach 9 tax havens through Ministry of Foreign Affairs for obtaining information on those involved in Panama and Bahamas Leaks. Besides Panama and Bahamas, these tax havens include British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Niue, Samoa, Anguilla, Mauritius, and Jersey. He emphasized that due process of law must be followed while seeking additional information from foreign jurisdictions.

Chairman FBR briefed the meeting about the notices issued to those whose names appeared in both the leaks and the response thereon. The meeting was informed that there are a total of 9 jurisdictions, 270 companies and 444 individuals involved in Panama Leaks. Similarly, 150 Pakistani individuals were found in Bahamas Leaks, out of which whereabouts of 110 were traced by the FBR, while in 40 cases addresses are being tracked. He apprised the meeting that Pakistan may have substantial economic stakes in jurisdictions which are considered as tax havens. Notices under section 176 of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 were issued earlier by FBR wherein ownership of companies/entities at Panama etc, and details about their financial and tax matters were asked. FBR has received responses in 133 cases so far. The cross-matching of data of 155 individuals who are Directors of 600 companies in Pakistan was carried out.

The Chairman FBR informed the Minister that those who are not responding to the legal notices will be penalized through imposition of penalty.

Finance Minister directed that the countries concerned be approached through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for seeking more evidence and information about bank accounts, business assets, investments, etc of those persons and entities named in the leaks.

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

 
October 17, 2016 (PR No. 1840)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of the Laws Review Committee

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

The Committee reviewed progress on various draft bills that are bring considered for legislation. The meeting was informed that the draft of new companies Bill 2016 had been prepared in extensive consultation with all stakeholders. Finance Minister said that it was government’s priority to facilitate business and make it easir for them to operate. The new companies Bill, he opined, would lead to adoption of best international practices in the field.

Federal Minister for Law, Zahid Hamid, 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.
 
October 17, 2016 (PR No. 1839)

Former presidents of the Lahore Chambers of Commerce and Industry called on the Finance Minister

Former presidents of the Lahore Chambers of Commerce and Industry Mian Misbah-ur-Rehman & Farooq Iftikhar called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here at the Finance Division. SA to PM on Revenue Mr. Haroon Akhtar was also present during the meeting.

 The trade representatives were welcomed by the Finance Minister at the Finance Ministry. The former presidents gave a detailed briefing to the Finance Minister on the problems being faced by the business and traders community in the country and also gave their opinion about how these could be resolved.

The Finance Minister on the occasion assured that the government is sincere in solving the problems of the business community. The Minister on the occasion urged the business representatives to fulfill their responsibility of paying taxes honestly and play a constructive role in the national development. He assured that improving Ease of Doing Business is the priority of the government while FBR has also been instructed to facilitate the business community.

The trade representatives thanked the Finance Minister for his time and personal interest in the problems of the business community and invited him to visit the Lahore Chamber. 

The meeting was participated by Chairman FBR, senior members of the FBR team and senior officials of the Finance Ministry.
 
October 16, 2016 (PR No. 1838)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting to review the fertilizer stock position in the country

Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance chaired a meeting here to review the fertilizer stock position in the country in view of the forthcoming cropping season. The Minister was briefed on the fertilizer production and inventory position in the country. He said that strategic reserves of fertilizer must continue to be maintained at all times to ensure food security.

Managing Director /CEO Fauji Fertilizer Company Ltd (Rtd) Lt. Gen Shafqaat Ahmed apprised the Minister on the critical role being played by the Fauji Fertilizer Company in meeting the country's fertilizer requirements and thanked the Minister for the government's full support to the fertilizer industry and FFC. The Finance Minister appreciated the contribution of FFC in ensuring stability in supply of fertilizer in the country and assured that the government will continue to provide across the board facilitation to the industry. MD FFC also apprised the Minister on the prospects for international trade in the fertilizer sector and briefed him about specific export opportunities.

Secretary Finance, Secretary National Food Security, Chairman FBR, Secretary Ports & Shipping, Secretary Petroleum and CEO Fauji Fertilizer Company Ltd (Rtd) lt. Gen Shafqaat Ahmed Attended the meeting.

 
October 15, 2016 (PR No. 1837)

Finance Minister briefed on progress of the implementation of the Doing Business Reform Strategy 2016

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here today to review the progress on the implementation of the Doing Business Reform Strategy 2016. Finance Secretary briefed the Finance Minister on the reform measures being taken to cover all the ten Doing Business indicators. These indicators include starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering a property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

Finance Secretary also briefed the meeting on the proposed way forward for improving the country’s ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Index. Finance Minister directed that specific actions that are required to be taken for the purpose must be identified along with time lines.

Further, Finance Minister stressed on the need for ensuring coordination with all stakeholders. He directed that every effort should be made to facilitate the foreign as well as domestic investors and businessmen. He said that Pakistan is increasingly being identified globally as a business and investor friendly country. He opined that Pakistan must take full advantage of the improvement in the economy as well as security situation.

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

 
October 15, 2016 (PR No. 1836)

Finance Minister reviewed the performance of FBR

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here today to discuss performance of FBR in achieving the revenue collection targets. SA to PM on Revenue Mr. Haroon Akhtar was also present during the meeting.

Chairman FBR Nisar Mohammad Khan briefed the Finance Minister about the strategy and measures being adopted for improvement in revenue collection for achieving the annual target of revenue collection assigned to FBR. The chairman said that directives have been issued to the core team members to improve collections.

The Finance Minister directed the FBR team to put in the best efforts for achieving the annual target. He emphasized the importance of enhanced revenue collection in the background of country’s need for development and for achieving higher rate of inclusive and sustainable growth.

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

 
October 14, 2016 (PR No. 1835)

Facts regarding the award of "Best Finance Minister of the Year for 2016"

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Finance has expressed disappointment over the assertions made by few people who, with ulterior motives, have been twisting the facts regarding the award of “Best Finance Minister of the Year for 2016” to Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar by Emerging Markets publication. The spokesman has clarified that Finance Ministers of other countries have also been receiving the said award in the past many years.

The spokesman made it clear that Emerging Markets is a financial trade newsletter that widely publishes around Spring and Annual Meetings of the IMF / World Bank and gives awards every year to Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.

The Press Release issued by the Ministry of Finance on 8th October 2016 had contained full correspondence with the said publication so as to avoid any misunderstanding. The same correspondence is being attached again with this press release.

The email dated 4th October 2016 received from the publication had also clearly stated that “It is with great pleasure that we write to inform you that Emerging Markets, the newspaper of the IMF / World Bank Annual Meeting, has named you Finance Minister of the Year for South Asia”.

The award was officially received by the Pakistani Ambassador to USA Mr Jalil Jilani in the official function held in Washington on 8thOctober 2016.

 
October 14, 2016 (PR No. 1834)

Finance Minister today announced that the Foreign exchange reserves of the country have reached the new historic high of $24.5 billion

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar today announced that the Foreign exchange reserves of the country have reached the new historic high of $24.5 billion.

The Finance Minister on the occasion congratulated the Prime Minister and the Nation on this achievement. “There was a time when the country had reserves equal to a few weeks payment of the import bill but now, with the grace of the Almighty, we have reached a level where we have foreign exchange reserves equal to 6 months of import bill” said the Finance Minister. The Minister also told that out of the total, SBP has $19.5 billion whereas commercial banks have $5 billion of these reserves.

The Minister also said that we have worked really hard to reach this new level of reserves. Pakistan is not what it was three years ago, the country is more stable and the international investors see Pakistan as new destination for their investments. He added that all this has happened with the constant hard work and team effort under the leadership of the Prime Minister.

 
October 14, 2016 (PR No. 1833)

Finance Minister spoke on telephone with US Undersecretary of State

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar spoke on telephone with Ms Catherine Novelli, US Undersecretary of State, late last night.

Finance Minister apprised her of his domestic commitments, including All Parties Conference and Joint Session of the Parliament to discuss the situation on the Line of Control (LoC), which necessitated him to cancel his visit to Washington for annual meetings of the IMF / World Bank. He apprised Ms Novelli about the recent positive developments, including issuance of international sukuk at the lowest coupon rate for Pakistan.

US Undersecretary Ms Novelli congratulated Finance Minister for receiving the award of Best Finance Minister of the Year for South Asia and said that the award given by Emerging Markets, the newspaper of the IMF / World Bank Annual Meeting, was “totally deserved”. She also appreciated Pakistan’s first time completion of IMF’s 3-years program and successful implementation of reform agenda leading to the direction of macroeconomic stability.

The two leaders discussed how the US could assist Pakistan in improving its labour standards as a means to better market Pakistan’s manufactured products. Ms Novelli added that the new head of International Labour Organization (ILO) was keen to help Pakistan in this field. Finance Minister welcomed US offer and said that we would further coordinate on this subject.

Ms Novelli also apprised Finance Minister about the progress in the ongoing 28th meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol taking place in Kigali, Rawanda. Finance Minister assured Ms Novelli that Pakistan would play a positive role in the meeting keeping in view its national interests.

 
October 14, 2016 (PR No. 1832)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting on Pakistan's Privatization Program

The Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting on Pakistan’s Privatization Program today.

Chairman Privatization Commission, Mohammad Zubair briefed the Finance Minister about the implementation status of decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Privatization. Chairman Privatization Commission apprised the Finance Minister on interest shown by foreign investors in various sectors.

The Finance Minister appreciated the work done by the Privatization Commission and directed that the process may continue to be conducted in an efficient and transparent manner.

The meeting was attended by officials from Finance Division and Privatization Commission.

 
October 13, 2016 (PR No. 1831)

Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman called on the Finance Minister

Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman called on the Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today.

The Air Chief briefed the Minister about preparedness of the Air Force and appreciated government’s support for up gradation of the force.

Finance Minister appreciated the professionalism of Pakistan Air Force and the steps taken for indigenous technological development undertaken by them to modernize the force. He said that Pakistan Air Force has played a critical and important role to compliment the Zarb-e-Azb operation against terrorists. The Minister assured the Air Chief that fulfilling the defence requirements is the first priority of the government. He said that the government acknowledges the services rendered by the air force for the country and continues to ensure that all their requirements are catered for by the government on emergent basis.

The meeting was attended by officials of the Pakistan Air Force and Ministry of Finance.

 
October 13, 2016 (PR No. 1830)

Chairman Habib Bank Limited called on the Finance Minister

Chairman Habib Bank Limited Mr. Sultan Ali Allana and Mr. Shahzad Roy called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar today.

Mr. Allana congratulated the Finance Minister on being awarded with  the “Finance Minister of the year 2016 for South Asia” award recently and said that this recognition by the international community is a matter of pride for Pakistan and will boost the confidence of the  financial services industry of the country. Mr. Allana also conveyed the good wishes of His Highness the Agha Khan for Pakistan’s prosperity.

Chairman HBL appreciated the reforms undertaken by the government, which he said have given a boost to the economy of the country. He said that HBL is collaborating with the government on the opportunities made available for expanding financial services in Pakistan through the National Financial Inclusion Strategy.

The Finance Minister thanked Chairman HBL for his good wishes and requested to convey his best wishes for His Highness the Agha Khan. He also appreciated the initiative of the HBL to open a branch in Urumqi, China and wished the bank success in this new venture.
  
The meeting was attended by the senior officials of the Finance Ministry.

 
October 13, 2016 (PR No. 1829)

Chairman FPCCI called on the Finance Minister

Mr. Rauf Alam, Chairman FPCCI (Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry), called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar today.

Mr. Alam congratulated the Finance Minister on being awarded the “Finance Minister of the year 2016 for South Asia award” by Emerging Markets. Mr. Alam said that the award given to the Finance Minister is a testimony of the resounding success of the government’s policies for economic development in the country. He said that the news of the award has bolstered the confidence of the international investors.

The Finance Minister thanked the Chairman FPCCI for his felicitation and said that the government is ensuring to provide a strong framework for boosting entrepreneurship, business and trade for Pakistan. He said that the business community must continue its collaboration with the government to ensure value addition and technological advancement in provision of products and services.

The Chairman FPCCI, said that the business community appreciated the enthusiasm with which the Finance Minister always addressed their concerns and provided a stable platform to support the business community.

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

 
October 08, 2016 (PR No. 1828)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the progress of Integrated Agriculture Census-2017

Chief Statistician Mr. Asif Bajwa informed the meeting that the Governing Council of PBS had decided to merge three censuses i.e. Agriculture Census, Livestock Census and Agriculture Machinery census into one exercise i.e. Integrated Agriculture Census in which all the information being collected separately through above censuses may be collected under single visit. PBS has accordingly started preparations to hold IAC-2017 in the first half of year 2017.

The Chair was informed that PBS is going to switch over from paper questionnaire to electronic data collection through Tablets which will curtail the data collection and data processing time significantly. The Chair was informed that software has been developed on Tablets and a pilot IAC-2017 is being launched in Sahiwal district in 150 blocks at the end of current month. This will be a major breakthrough in the field of data collection.

Finance Minister appreciated the efforts of PBS to improve its working and directed that PBS may also use latest technology in other surveys/censuses to improve its performance and ensure credibility. He further directed that PBS should ensure transparency and credibility in the collection of data. He assured PBS of full support in its plans to improve the data collection and analysis process. The meeting was attended by Secretary Statistics Division as wellas senior officials of the ministry of Finance.

 
October 08, 2016 (PR No. 1827)

Ambassador of Norway called on Finance Minister

Mr. Tore Nedrebø, Ambassador of Norway called on Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today.

The Ambassador apprised the Finance Minister about the Norwegian investments in Pakistan. He said that Norway is one of the largest investor in Pakistan and wants to expand investment portfolio further. The Ambassador said that with the collaboration of relevant institutions in Pakistan and Pakistan’s Embassy in Norway, he would use his good offices to plan events for attracting more Norwegian investment into Pakistan.

The Finance Minister welcomed Mr. Nedrobo to Pakistan and wished him and successful tenure in Pakistan. He appreciated the plans of the Ambassador for strengthening economic ties between the two countries. He said that Pakistan values relations with Norway and wants to further expand and deepen the relationship. The Minister assured his cooperation and support to facilitate Norwegian investments in Pakistan.

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

 

 
October 08, 2016 (PR No. 1826)

Finance Minister of the year 2016 for South Asia

The Award is a recognition of Pakistan’s economic performance at the IMF / World Bank Annual Meeting which is one of the major gatherings of international financial and economic leaders and experts. Since Finance Minister had to cancel his visit to Washington for the Annual Meeting due to situation on the Line of Control, the All-Parties Conference and Joint Session of the Parliament on Kashmir situation, he has authorized Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani, to receive the award on his behalf later tonight. The correspondence received on the subject conveying nomination of the Finance Minister is attached.

 
October 07, 2016 (PR No. 1825)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting to ensure timely procuremient of vaccines for immunization programme

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar presided over a meeting today to ensure timely procurement of vaccines for immunization programme. Secretary Health, Regulation and Coordination Mr. Ayub Sheikh briefed the Finance Minister on the matter.

The Minister was informed that vaccines provided by Global Alliance for Vaccine Immunization (Gavi) are also to be paid for by the provinces as decided by ECNEC as health is a devolved subject. The vaccines are for BCG, polio, measles diphtheria, hepatitis C etc.

Finance Minister directed that bridge financing be provided for the procurement of vaccines as was also decided by ECNEC. This would ensure that there are no stock outs of critical vaccines and that commitment of co-financing with Gavi would also be met. This would ensure smooth inflow of Gavi vaccines, especially Penta, Peneumococal and Rotavirus. Finance Minister said that the young generation of the country has to be saved from diseases and so the government was committed to making available necessary vaccines for the purpose.

The meeting was also attended by senior officials of Ministry of Finance as well as Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform.

 
October 07, 2016 (PR No. 1824)

Chairman WAPDA Lt. Gen (R) Muzamil Hussain called on the Finance Minister

Chairman WAPDA Lt. Gen (R) Muzamil Hussain called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today.

The Minister welcomed the newly appointed Chairman WAPDA and extended his best wishes to him on assuming the responsibility.

The Chairman briefed the Minister on the progress of Neelum-Jehlum Hydro Power Project, and Tarbela-IV project as well as Dasu Hydro Power Project. The new WAPDA chief informed the Minister that the Tarbela-IV project is expected to be inaugurated next year and Neelum-Jehlum Hydro Power Project in the year 2018.

The Minister appreciated the effort of the new Chairman in expediting the work on the ground and overcoming any bottlenecks. The Minister also assured WAPDA of all possible help and support in early execution of the Hydero Power Projects.

The meeting was also participated by senior officials of the Ministries of Finance and Water and Power.

 
October 06, 2016 (PR No. 1823)

Finance Minister has expressed his satisfaction over Pakistan successfully issued US$ 1 billion sukuk

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar in a statement expressed satisfaction that Pakistan successfully issued US$ 1 billion sukuk late last night at a historic low rate of 5.5% which is better than recent sovereign issuance of bonds by both Bahrain and Sri Lanka, the credit ratings of which are higher than Pakistan.

Pakistan sukuk was almost five times oversubscribed with orders of approximately US$ 2.4 billion received as against the initial offering of US$ 500 million. The orders were placed by over 100 blue chip institutional international investors including investment advisers, asset managers, banks and trusts mutual funds, pension funds and hedge funds for all across the globe. 38% of the orders were placed by investors from Europe, 27% from North America, 27% from Middle East and North Africa, 6% from Asia and 2% from other regions.

The process of issuance of sukuk included conduct of roadshows in Dubai, London, Boston and New York by a team comprising Finance Secretary and Governor State Bank of Pakistan. The team held meetings with over 100 potential institutional investors in these major financial centres in close coordination with the Joint Lead Managers (JLMs) comprising Standard Chartered Bank, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and Noor Bank.

During the roadshows, the investors showed unprecedented interest in Pakistan and its economy. They were particularly appreciative of the remarkable turnaround in Pakistan's economy as a result of comprehensive and far-reaching reforms undertaken by the government. As a result of those reforms, the Center for International Development at the prestigious Harvard University has predicted that Pakistan’s GDP will grow by 5.07% over next 10 years. At the same time, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank / IMF have also recently revised upward their growth forecasts for Pakistan from 4.7% to 5.2% and 5% respectively.

The road shows ended on 4th October 2016 and book building process closed on 5th October 2016 after which allocation and pricing exercise took place which was participated in by Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar through a series of video conferences and conference calls. These video and audio conferences were participated in by the officials of Ministry of Finance, representatives of the Joint Lead Managers as well as the Syndicate based in London. Finance Minister indicated that the initial pricing was 5.75% while issuing price and other guidelines on the evening of 4th October 2016.After book building reached US$ 2.4 billion approximately on 5th October night, the final pricing was officially downwards revised to 5.5% and the transaction was completed within next few hours. Final allocation on the JLMs recommendation was confirmed to around 90 institutional investors with a total value of US$ 1 billion.

It is important to note that the “Subscription Agreement” with Joint Lead Managers provides that the certificates or interests therein will not be offered, sold or transferred directly or indirectly in Pakistan, to residents of Pakistan, or to, or for the account or benefit of, such persons.

Finance Minister also stated that the issuance of sukuk will equally reduce the domestic public debt by around Rs 104.5 billion and will, therefore, not result in any increase in the country’s overall public debt.

 
October 05, 2016 (PR No. 1822)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting through video conference with Pakistan's team and Joint Lead Managers

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar held a meeting through video conference with Pakistan's team comprising Finance Secretary and Governor State Bank of Pakistan who are in Washington DC at the end of roadshows for Pakistan's international sukuk 2016. Representatives of Joint Lead Managers were also present.

The team conducted these roadshows in Dubai, London, Boston and New York and met with potential investors in these major financial centres. The roadshows were completed in close coordination with the Joint Lead Managers comprising Standard Chartered Bank, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and Noor Bank.

Finance Secretary briefed the Finance Minister that investors showed unprecedented interest in Pakistan and its economy during the roadshows. They were particularly appreciative of the remarkable turnaround in Pakistan's economy as a result of comprehensive and far-reaching reforms undertaken by the government. They also applauded Pakistan's completion of IMF's Extended Fund Facility Program for the first time in its history and exhibited interest in the sukuk on offer.

After the completion of the book building process, the allocation and pricing of international sukuk 2016 is expected to be completed latertonight.

 
October 02, 2016 (PR No. 1821)

Finance Minister briefed by the Chairman SECP about amendments required in the Insurance Regulatory Framework

The Chairman SECP, in a meeting with Finance Minister, gave him an overview of the insurance industry in Pakistan and briefed about the amendments required in the insurance regulatory legal framework. The amendments are expected to improve the financial soundness of the insurance companies and help develop robust and financially stable insurance sector where interest of policyholders are better protected. The proposed framework aims to provide the conducive regulatory environment to encourage market development, strengthen the regulatory framework to ensure alignment with the Insurance Core Principles (ICP) of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS). 

Considering the magnitude of and importance of the proposed improvements in the insurance regulatory framework, Finance Minister advised that the Insurance Ordinance, 2000 be replaced with the new Insurance Ordinance. It will improve image of the insurance industry of Pakistan internationally. The Finance Minister further advised SECP to start nation-wide stakeholders consultation in this regards. The Chairman SECP informed that SECP intends to hold stakeholders consultation in October 2016. 

The meeting was informed that the Updated version of Draft Companies Bill 2016 had been submitted to Ministry of Finance after extensive consultation. Finance Minister directed that the proposed law may be processed as per the described procedure.

 
October 02, 2016 (PR No. 1820)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review establishment of Pakistan Land Port Authority

The Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review establishment of Pakistan Land Port Authority. Quarter Master General Pakistan Army, Lt. General Javed Bukhari briefed the Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar on border check points across the country.

The Finance Minister was briefed about the requirement of modern border terminals required in current situation of growing trade and rising international commercial goods volume. The construction of sufficiently equipped modern border terminals is a requirement not only for the purpose of trade regulation but also for tracking movement of persons both for the reasons of immigration and security. Various models of up-gradation of border posts for covered cargo at Jamrud, Taftan, Sosst, were discussed.

The meeting was attended by SAPM on Law Barrister Zafarullah Khan, Secretary EAD, Maj. General Sahir Shamshad, DG MO, Maj. General Faisal Mushtaq, DG-NLC and Chairman FBR.
Finance Minister emphasized the government’s priority of establishing a Land Port Authority to invigorate the border trade and facilitate and better monitor those travelling to Pakistan.

 
October 01, 2016 (PR No. 1819)

Finance Minister chaired the 10th meeting of the Governing Council of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS)

The 10thMeeting of the Governing Council of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) was held today under the Chairmanship of the Finance Minister/ Chairman Governing Council.The meeting reviewed the overall working of PBS.The Chair welcome the newly appointed Members of the Governing Council from KP and Balochistan provinces.

The Chief Statistician, PBS gave detailed presentation on the agenda items and informed the house about preparationsmade forholding  the Population and Housing Census. The Finance Minister directed that all options for holding the Census at an early date be examined.

The Chair informed the house that Government is fully committed to conduct credible and transparent census in the country. It has allocated required financial resources, procured the data processing equipment and made other logistic arrangements. However, only limitation is the availability of armed forces keeping in view the current security as well as border situation.

The meeting was also informed that PBS has started updation of urban and rural area frame by dividing geographical area into small blocks. Urban blocks in 653 urban localities have been digitized with complete information regarding socio economic variables available in these blocks. PBS is currently working on updationof rural area frame and has completed the assignment in around 60,000 blocksout ofa total of 115,000. This process will enable PBS to conduct Census and sample surveys on digitized block boundaries and will enhance the accuracy of the data collected in its surveys.

The Chair observed that expansion in the Governing Council will improve its functioning and desired that experts from AJ&K, GB and Sindh be proposedfor inclusion in the Governing Council.
           
The progress on change of base of National Accounts from 2005-06 to 2015-16 was also presented it was mentioned that PBS has completed the field work of Rent Survey, SHMI, Construction Survey and Household Integrated Income & Consumption Survey while, their reports are in progress. It was further informed that field work of five more surveys will be launched in the current month. The Chair showed satisfaction on the pace of work.

It was informed that PBS is going to switch from paper questionnaires to electronic data collection. Agriculture Census 2017 and data on price statistics will be collected through Android technology using Tablets which will curtail the time lag in data processing significantly. The Chair appreciated the efforts made by PBS for this new intervention and suggested that we may adopt new technology for improvement in the current statistical system.

 
October 01, 2016 (PR No. 1818)

Finance Minister visited Bari Imam complex

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar visited Bari Imam Complex today and offered fateha at the mazaar. He also inspected the improvement and extension work at the Complex and expressed his satisfaction over the completion of phase-I. Completion of phase-I, he said, had improved the outlook of the mazaar and added to the convenience of the visitors.

Finance Minister directed that planning for phase-II should be completed at the earliest so that further facilities to the visitors of the mazaar can be provided.

Chairman CDA and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.

 
October 01, 2016 (PR No. 1817)

Mr. Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Director World Bank called on the Finance Minister

Mr. Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Director World Bank called on the Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here today.

He apprised the Finance Minister on the forthcoming annual meeting of the World Bank group. The meeting discussed the portfolio of the World Bank assisted projects in Pakistan. Pakistan has shown strong economic turnaround, the World Bank Group sees Pakistan as stronger partner for further development, collaboration and assistance. He said that IFC will help in renewable energy in Pakistan and provide a credit line in this regard. Finance Minister appreciated the interest and support of World Bank President for developmental projects in Pakistan.

The Minister said he is looking forward to his forth-coming visit to Washington to participate in the World Bank and IMF annual meetings and appreciated World Banks support for the green energy projects.

Representatives of IFC and senior officials of Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.

 
October 01, 2016 (PR No. 1816)

Increase in stipend for BISP beneficiaries

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar said here today that he had detailed discussion with the Prime Minister regarding increase in the stipend for BISP beneficiaries. The Prime Minister has been pleased to approve increase in the annual stipend to BISP beneficiaries from Rs. 18,800/- to 19,338/- per annum.

The increase is in accordance with the increase in CPI during the last year; the Minister said and added the decision would contribute to mitigating the effect of inflation on the BISP beneficiaries.

The stipend at the enhanced rate of Rs. 4834/- per beneficiary per quarter would be payable with effect from July 1, 2016. The arrears would be paid along with the next installment, the Finance Minister added. The Finance Division has already issued instructions to BISP to ensure disbursement of quarterly stipend at the enhanced rate.

The present government, he said, is fully committed to protecting the most vulnerable segments of the society and  for this purpose the annual allocation for BISP has been enhanced by the present government from Rs.40 billion to Rs.115 billion while the annual stipends have been enhanced from Rs. 12000/- to Rs.18,800/- during the last three years. These have now been further increased to Rs.19338/- per beneficiary per annum.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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