Press Releases/Media
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May 25, 2016 (PR No. 1639)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review FBR budget proposals

Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Wednesday chaired a meeting to review the latest position of revenue collection and budget related proposals of the FBR.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue, Haroon Akhtar Khan was also present.

Chairman FBR Nisar Mohammad Khan updated the meeting on the state of revenue collection. He said in line with the instructions given by the Finance Minister, all out efforts are being made to achieve the target of Rs. 3104 billion for the current fiscal year. He said the revenue collection so far is very encouraging and makes FBR confident that the target for FY 2015-16 would be met.

The meeting was given a briefing about the FBR proposals for the budget 2016-17. Chairman FBR on the occasion said that different stakeholders including chambers of commerce and industries, traders, businessmen, professionals, experts and think tanks have been thoroughly consulted before formulating the proposals. He said the exercise has been very fruitful in obtaining inputs for the budget 2016-17.

The Finance Minister said that FBR strategy for the current budget should  be to facilitate the filers while taking strict measures against non-filers and tax evaders. He appreciated the hard work put in by FBR team for formulating budget proposals and interaction with stakeholders. He added that while finalizing the proposals the government’s drive for economic growth must be kept in mind.

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

 
May 25, 2016 (PR No. 1638)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the provision of agriculture credit, particularly by public sector banks to the farmers

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here today to review the provision of agriculture credit, particularly by public sector banks to the farmers. Secretary Finance, Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan, CEOs of National Bank of Pakistan and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.

In the meeting, issues pertaining to agriculture sector, particularly losses incurred by the agriculturists in respect of cotton and rice crops were discussed. It was also pointed out that the markup rates charged on agriculture credit by the banks need to be reviewed. In view thereof, the Finance Minister urged upon the public sector Financial Institutions like NBP and ZTBL to review the markup rates for agriculture credit, particularly in view of the reduction in overall policy rate recently announced by the State Bank of Pakistan.

The Heads of the banks assured that they will immediately finalize specific measures for increasing availability of agricultural credit and rationalize markup rates, which will enhance agricultural growth in the country.

 
May 23, 2016 (PR No. 1637)

Rs. 1.75 Billion Ramadan Relief Package Approved by ECC

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

The ECC considered and approved Special Ramadan Package worth Rs.1.75 billion as compared to Rs.1.5 billion given last year. The Relief Package has been announced in line with Prime Minister's instructions for providing relief to the consumers in the holy month.

The package will cover 22 essential items of use available at the Utility Store Corporation of Pakistan. The meeting was informed that as directed by the Prime Minister the USC was already providing concession on different items since April 27th which would also continue in Ramadan.  The relief on different items ranges from Rs.4 to Rs 50.

It is pertinent to mention that overall USC will provide 5-10% discount on more than 1000 items for the month of Ramadan through arrangements with vendors or reducing its own profit margins.

ECC also approved grant of Tax Exemption under Gwadar Port Concession Agreement for Operation and Development of Gwadar Port.  Tax Holiday shall be provided to the businesses to be established in the free zone for a period of 23 years.

ECC also granted approval for the allocation of 60MMCFD additional available gas from HRL (Habib Rahi limestone) Reservoir of Mari Gas to Thermal Power Station Guddu (TPSG) /GENCO- II. On this occasion Secretary Water and Power, Younus Dhaga, informed the Committee that as compared to May 2015, when the total power generation was 14100 MW, this year we have optimized  generation and took it to 16300 MW in the current month.

The Finance Minister appreciated the efforts of the W&P Ministry in effectively dealing with energy crisis and said that we shall make available 10,000 additional MWs to the people by 2018 as promised by the PML-N in its manifesto.

 
May 23, 2016 (PR No. 1636)

Minister and Advisor, Saudi Royal Court called on Finance Minister

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar  received, Mr. Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister and Advisor, Saudi Royal Court for a meeting here on  Monday.

Finance Minister while welcoming the visiting Saudi dignitary said both the countries are bound by strong feelings of Islamic brotherhood and enjoy exemplary ties. He said the present government led by Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif wishes to further consolidate the brotherly relations and take them to even greater heights, encompassing all important spheres of cooperation.

Finance Minister exchanged views with the Saudi Advisor on enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries with particular emphasis on augmenting bilateral trade. He also had discussion with the visiting Saudi dignitary about investment opportunities in Pakistan, particularly in petrochemical and energy sectors and said that the Saudi government, investors and public sector organizations are welcome to explore these opportunities.

He said that the improved economic and security situation and implementation of government’s infrastructure related plans is attracting the attention of foreign investors. Finance Minister said that Pakistan offers the most liberal investment regime and Saudi investors are most welcome to take advantage of it for mutual benefit of the two countries.

Mr. Ahmed Al-Khateeb said that Saudi government would encourage different Saudi companies to explore investment opportunities in Pakistan. He shared the desire of the Saudi leadership with the Finance Minister for increasing efforts to enhance economic cooperation which could be reflective of the deep rooted relations  between the two countries.

The Minister thanked Mr. Al Khateeb for his visit and asked him to convey his best wishes and respects to Khadim al Haramain Shareefain and the Saudi leadership.

 
May 23, 2016 (PR No. 1635)

British High Commissioner to Pakistan called on Finance Minister

Mr. Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar this morning at the Finance Division.

The Minister welcomed the newly appointed High Commissioner and said that he hopes that his current appointment to Pakistan will play an important role in further improving the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Mr. Drew said that it was his second appointment in Pakistan and he felt very happy and privileged in his new position. He said that the relationship between Pakistan and UK is highly valuable for both sides and that he believes that Pakistan has a pivotal role to play in the peace, stability and development of the region.

The High Commissioner said that the government of Pakistan has been able to bring about visible improvements in the economic environment in the country as well as the security situation. These improvements would go a long way in attracting foreign investors to invest in the country.

The Finance Minister informed the High Commissioner that the government was focusing on economic growth and creation of more job opportunities for the people. He said that foreign investment can play a key role in the process and the government therefore welcomes foreign investors. He appreciated DFID, UK's support for the social sector in the country in the form of grant projects for health, agriculture, disaster management and poverty alleviation. He hoped that the bilateral cooperation in various fields will further increase during the tenure of High Commissioner Drew, in the mutual interest of both the countries.

 
May 22, 2016 (PR No. 1634)

Finance Minister handed over cheques to depositors of up to Rs.10 million of IIBL

Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar here on Sunday reiterated his proposal to all political parties on charter of economy to ensure sustainable development and economic growth. He was addressing the cheque distribution ceremony to the deposit-holders of the defunct Innovative Investment Bank Limited (IIBL) at the SECP head office on Sunday.

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar handed over cheques to the depositors of up to Rs.10 million of the IIBL, which amount to Rs 1.1 billion. It may be recalled that the Lahore High Court ordered the winding up of IIBL in May 2013 on a petition of SECP, because of serious financial irregularities and violations by the bank’s administration. With the distribution of cheques, 84% of individual depositors and 59% of charitable institutions stand fully repaid. In addition, 17 individuals and 18 trusts and charitable institutions have been partially paid.

Addressing the participants, the Federal Finance Minister, Senator Ishaq Dar highly appreciated official liquidators, the SECP team and said that the court decision and its successful implementation is a strong signal to rebuild investors’ confidence in state institutions. He appreciated liquidators initiative of recovery of written off loans and stated that this provided a good precedent for similar action in other cases, where loans had been written off without sufficient justification. He stated that those who have good financial standing and have benefited from loan write offs should be made to pay back the loans.

The Minister said that it was important to strengthen state institutions to bring transparency and rebuild investors’ confidence. The investors should have the confidence that the state institutions would come to their help and rescue, if something goes wrong.

Minister Dar said that with the joint efforts of all stakeholders Pakistan is now an economically stable country. He said that with economic stability, Pakistan’s inclusion in the MSCI Emerging Market Index is only a matter of time and hoped that in its upcoming assessment of MSCI Emerging Market Index, Pakistan will be included in the emerging market index, which will boost country’s image, build investors’ confidence and increase foreign investments.

The Finance Minister said that Pakistan’s economic indicators are continually improving and showing economic stability. He said that there has been cumulative growth of 56% in tax collection during the last three years. The fiscal deficit will close on 4.3 percent of GDP on June 30, which was 8.8 in 2013 whereas the SBP possesses highest ever foreign reserves of$16.5 billion with the total reserves at the highest level of US$21.3 billion.

The Finance minister stated that in the wake of the Panama Leaks he had directed the FBR, SECP and State Bank to prepare a comprehensive plan and legislation to plug the loopholes to stop illegal inflow and outflow of foreign exchange to/from the country and that work on revising the legal framework is also underway.

The SECP Chairman Zafar Hijazi said that system of corporate burials needs to be strengthened in Pakistan. He said that the SECP is making efforts and introducing reforms to further systematize the companies’ winding up and liquidation procedures.

 
May 19, 2016 (PR No. 1633)

Japan Extends Yen 6.290 Billion (Us $ 59 Million) Loan for Polio Eradication Project Phase-II

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, here on Thursday witnessed signing ceremony of Government of Japan /JICA loan of Japanese Yen 6.29 billion (equivalent to US$ 59 million approximately) for Government of Pakistan’s  Polio Eradication initiative for next three years (2016-18).

The Official Note for the loan was exchanged at the ceremony. Mrs. Anjum Assad Amin, Additional Secretary, Economic Affairs Division and H.E. Mr. Takashi Kurai, the Ambassador of Japan signed the Exchange of Notes on behalf of their respective Governments.

Loan Agreement was signed by Syed Mujtaba Hussain, Joint Secretary (Japan), Economic Affairs Division and Mr. Yasuhiro Tojo, Chief Representative, Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA).

The main objective of the program is procuring Oral Polio Vaccine and ensure administering the vaccine to children less than five (5) years, thereby contributing to early eradication of polio in Pakistan.

Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar on the occasion said Pakistan highly values continued support and cooperation from the Government of Japan and JICA for projects aimed at socio-economic development. He specially lauded the support for eradicating polio and making Pakistan a polio free country. The Minister said the present government has fully focused on polio eradication programme and Japan’s support would doubly strengthen its efforts.

Ambassador of Japan Mr. Takashi Kurai welcomed signing of the agreement. He said Japan has since 1996, supported polio eradication campaign in Pakistan and its total assistance in this regard including this soft loan reaches close to 22.6 billion Japanese Yen (approx US $ 212.5 million). The Ambassador hoped that this loan would be a “finishing blow” to polio infection and lead to complete polio eradication where “we can see all the children free from it”.  

 
May 19, 2016 (PR No. 1632)

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan called on Finance Minister

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Olson, accompanied by US Ambassador David Hale called on Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Thursday.

Richard Olson felicitated the Finance Minister on the successful conclusion of the 11th Review with the IMF. He said it was a creditable achievement as it indicated government's commitment to reforms and economic stabilization. The Minister stated that the reform program agreed with the Fund was homegrown and the government remains fully committed to further economic reforms, wherever required, in the future.

The US Representative informed the Minister about the preparations for US-Pak Business Opportunities Conference to be held in New York on June 3, 2016 and stated that businessmen from both sides have shown great enthusiasm for the Conference. Finance Minister expressed that such events would provide members of Pak-US business and traders communities the opportunity to have direct interaction and establish joint ventures and partnerships. He regretted that he would not be personally able to participate in the Conference due to the budget related engagements.

Minister Dar and Ambassador Olson reaffirmed their shared commitment to expand and deepen trade and economic ties between the two countries. The Minister said that US Exim Banks planned financing for the 3600 MW LNG based power projects in the country, would open new avenues of bilateral cooperation. Officials of US Embassy and Ministry of Finance were also present in the meeting.

 
May 18, 2016 (PR No. 1631)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to reviews proposals on improvements in laws regulating flow of foreign exchange

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a high level meeting, here today, to review proposals and recommendations on bringing about improvement and changes in the laws regulating the inflow and outflow of foreign exchange in the country, as well as disclosure of assets held abroad by Pakistanis.

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan(SECP), and Federal Board of Revenue(FBR), submitted their separate reports, in the context of Finance Minister's instructions given earlier on evolving the methodology to plug loopholes in the system that allow tax evasion and illegal transfer of foreign exchange from the country.

The three institutions also made presentations on the progress with regard to Finance Minister's directions for cross verification and investigation in cases of persons having resident status and holding interest in off-shore companies as disclosed in Panama papers.

The Minister issued directions for early completion of the verification and advised the three institutions to further improve and firm up their recommendations after mutual consultation, following which a detailed report be presented to the Finance Minister.

The Minister said that the present government has the resolve to regulate the foreign exchange inflow and outflow in the country as well as to have effective law regarding disclosure of assets held abroad by our citizens. He said that amendments in the relevant laws would be made in the light of the recommendations put forth by SBP, SECP and FBR.

 
May 18, 2016 (PR No. 1630)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review preparations of Budget 2016-17

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting at the Finance Division to review preparations for the presentation of Budget 2016-17 in the parliament in the first week of June.

Secretary Finance Dr. Waqar Masood Khan briefed the meeting on the detailed plan for the presentation of budget 2016-17. 

The Secretary informed that the preparations for the upcoming budget are in progress and the Ministry has been able to meet the timelines agreed at the beginning of the exercise. He said that the process of consultation with different Ministries was almost complete and their recommendations had been incorporated in most cases. 

The Minister expressed satisfaction on the progress of work. He directed that interest of the general public should be kept in view while finalizing the budget proposals. He also issued directions regarding further consultations with other government entities on proposals which had not yet been finalized. 

 
May 18, 2016 (PR No. 1629)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the progress and finalization of revenue budget

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting at the Finance Division to review the progress with regard to the preparation and finalization of revenue budget. 

Chairman FBR Nisar Mohammad Khan, briefed the meeting on different proposals submitted by various trade & industry bodies, chambers and associations, for inclusion in the budget 2016-17. He also gave an account of the recommendations made by the Tax Reform Commission.

Mr. Haroon Akhtar , Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue said that the spade work for the  budget has been completed and consultations with different spheres including Chambers of Commerce and different Ministries of the Government have been undertaken to make sure that  views of all the stakeholders are heard before finalizing the budget proposals. 

The Finance Minister appreciated the effort of the team of the Federal Board of Revenue and directed that FBR should ensure that people are not adversely affected by tax measures. He also directed that FBR may also continue to pursue the aim of tax payers facilitation to promote tax culture.

Mr. Haroon Akhtar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Division and senior officials of Ministry of Finance and Federal Board of Revenue participated in the meeting.

 
May 17, 2016 (PR No. 1628)

Finance Minister held a meeting with Vice President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar held a meeting with Vice President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Michael Mordasini here on Tuesday.

Mr. Michael Mordasini apprised the Finance Minister about the current profile of IFAD projects in Pakistan and said that the organization with its fundamental aim to combat rural poverty by promoting rural development had come a long way since starting its operations in 1978.

He said that IFAD's strategic objective is to assist the governments in providing people in rural areas with the skills, services and technologies that will enable them to increase productivity; and, second, to build and support local capacity through the promotion of participatory development processes. He said that to achieve these objectives, IFAD's strategy focuses on eradicating poverty in vulnerable and remote areas, achieving community participation and identifying opportunities for innovation.

Finance Minister, Dar on the occasion said that the present government ever since assuming responsibilities has focused on reaching out to the most deserving segments of the population in underserved areas. He cited the examples of the National Income Support Programme through which government had successfully reached out to 5.3 million beneficiaries while simultaneously enhancing its budgetary allocation from Rs. 40 billion in 2013 to Rs. 107 billion in FY 2015-16. He also informed IFAD Vice President that Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Karandaaz Pakistan (funded by UK’s Department for International Development) and Germany’s Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) Bank have recently signed the Shareholders’ Agreement for establishment of Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (PMIC). He said PMIC, is one of the key milestones in the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) launched in May last year. He said it is the goal of the government to meet the needs and aspirations of the poor and marginalized and disadvantaged households and PIMC would help achieve this objective. The Minister also highlighted the noticeable increase in agriculture credit by the present government for betterment of the agriculture sector and the farming community. He also invited IFAD to support activities in agriculture research and innovations for enhancing per acre yield.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.

 
May 17, 2016 (PR No. 1627)

US Ambassador met with Finance Minister

US Ambassador, David Hale called on the Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Tuesday. 

The US Ambassador apprised the Finance Minister about the Pak-US Business Opportunities Conference scheduled to be held in New York in the first week of June 2016. He said the event would help businessmen from both sides to forge economic collaboration. The Minister thanked the US Ambassador for his active support for the Business Opportunities Conference and stated that the government of Pakistan will encourage Pakistani businessmen to make full use of event. 

Ambassador Hale said that the US based investors, especially those in the beverage industry acknowledge and appreciate the efforts made by the government in the last three years to provide a level playing field to foreign investors. He said that the positive experience of existing investors would encourage the efforts to bring in more US companies to invest in Pakistan.

Representatives of Pepsico and Coca Cola, who accompanied Ambassador Hale, shared with the Minister, investment profiles of their companies in Pakistan and informed that they were planning to enhance their investment by setting up new production facilities, keeping in view the growth potential in the country. They also presented budget related proposals on behalf of the beverage industry.

The Minister welcomed the investment plan of both the companies and said the Government offered a level playing field to all international investors and all possible cooperation is offered to them to undertake business activities in the country. He said government is now focusing on economic growth and employment generation and fully encourages investment in the private sector which helps achieve economic growth and development. He assured the delegation that the budget related proposals put forward by beverage companies will be given due consideration. 

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

 
May 14, 2016 (PR No. 1626)

US Exim Bank willing to finance 3600 MW LNG based power plants

The spokesman of the Ministry of Finance said here Saturday that Vice President of US Exim Bank, Annette Maresh in a letter addressed to Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, has expressed strong interest in providing financing for the three LNG based power plants at Baloki, Bhikki and Haveli Bahadar Shah, in Pakistan.

It may be recalled that Finance Minister had started engagement with US Exim Bank during his visit to the US in September 2015. He met senior officials of the Bank and gave a detailed account of the business and investment opportunities in Pakistan. He urged the Bank to explore financing development projects in Pakistan. He also invited the Chairman of the Bank to visit Pakistan for the purpose.

The spokesman said that Chairman & President of Exim Bank Fred Hochberg accepted the invitation and visited Pakistan in April 2016 along with other senior officials. The Chairman had a detailed meeting with the Finance Minister and was given detailed briefing on various upcoming projects, especially energy projects where Exim Bank could participate.

In consequence of the above efforts, the Bank has now expressed strong interest in providing financing for the three LNG based power projects. The Bank has also offered multiple financing options for the consideration of the government of Pakistan. 

Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar while welcoming the decision of US Exim Bank to finance LNG based power projects has directed the relevant government departments to work out the details of the financing at the earliest. 

The decision by the Exim Bank to finance the energy projects also indicates the confidence of international institutions in economic stability and improved investment climate in the country, the spokesman concluded.

 
May 12, 2016 (PR No. 1626)

Finance Minister's Press Talk at Duabi on conclusion of Pak-IMF talks for 11th review

Click here to download Press Talk

 
May 11, 2016 (PR No. 1625)

IMF Talks for 11th Review

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar arrived here Wednesday and joined Pakistan delegation for talks with the IMF team for the 11th review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

Finance Minister leading the Pakistan delegation, has had four rounds of talks successfully completed and 5th round was underway by  Wednesday evening with talks progressing positively.

The talks are likely to conclude by Thursday evening.

The current review, it may be added is the second last of a total of 12 reviews under the 36-month programme, supported by an EFF arrangement approved in 2013.

 
May 10, 2016 (PR No. 1624)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to discuss up-gradation of school and college teachers in FATA

Federal Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here on Tuesday to discuss matters relating to up-gradation of school and college teachers in FATA.

Additional Chief Secretary FATA Secretariat, briefed the meeting on the proposed up-gradation of the teachers of FATA and stated that the issue had remained unresolved since 2012 and was creating unrest among the teachers of the area. He stated that over 20,000 teachers all over FATA would benefit from the up-gradation.

The Finance Minister on this occasion stated that the present government had resolved a number of lingering issues. Education and teachers' welfare is a priority of  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He said that teachers should be appropriately compensated for their services to the society. He said that the delay in timely decision making had created a huge financial liability, however in order to resolve the issue and meet the longstanding demand of the teachers of FATA, the Federal Government agrees to the up-gradation of teachers in accordance with the 4-tier formula, with effect from 01.07.2012. He directed the Finance Division and FATA Secretariat to work out the modalities of implementation of the decision.

Public Representatives of FATA thanked the Finance Minister for resolving the longstanding issue. They invited attention of the Finance Minister towards rehabilitation of TDPs and reconstruction in affected areas of FATA. Finance Minister assured that rehabilitation of TDPs and reconstruction of FATA is a priority and financial resources required for the purpose are being provided to FATA secretariat without any delay. The Government would ensure full rehabilitation of people of FATA, the Finance Minister said. 

Minister for States & Frontier Regions, Abdul Qadir Baloch, Senators and MNAs of FATA, senior officials of Ministry of Finance, States & Frontier Regions Division and FATA Secretariat attended the meeting.

 
May 09, 2016 (PR No. 1623)

Japanese Investors welcome to Pakistan's auto market -- Finance Minister

The newly appointed Japanese Ambassador, Takashi Kurai paid a courtesy call on the Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Monday.

Minister Dar welcomed the Japanese Envoy and said he would be extended all possible cooperation in his endevaours to augment Pak-Japan economic cooperation.

The Japanese Envoy discussed with the Minister, the investment plans of the Japanese companies in the wake of auto policy announced by the Government of Pakistan.

The Minister said that Pakistan now offers the most lucrative investment opportunities and an enabling economic environment for foreign investors. The re-launching of Yamaha, Japan last year was a practical example and proof of the interest international companies including those from Japan, evince in having business activities in Pakistan. He said that level playing field is offered to all prospective international investors and Japanese companies could also avail the liberal investment regime. Japanese investors are welcome to Pakistan’s auto market, the Minister said and added the auto policy announced by the present government aims at attracting foreign investment which would in turn strengthen its  endeavours to achieve growth and employment generation.

The Minister on this occasion also referred to his meeting with the delegation of JICA in Frankfurt on the sidelines of the ADB annual meeting and appreciated JICA’s contribution for various projects in Pakistan. 

During the meeting, JICA’s programme of financing for the Polio Eradication programme and signing of agreement to this effect was also discussed. 

The Minister wished Mr. Takashi Kurai, the best in his tenure as Ambassador in Pakistan.

Senior officials of the Japanese Embassy and Ministry of Finance also attended the meeting.

 
May 09, 2016 (PR No. 1622)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review upcoming Islamic Development Bank Annual General meetings in Jakarta

The Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here on Monday to review preparations of Pakistan’s delegation for attending the upcoming Islamic Development Bank Annual General meetings in Jakarta.

Secretary Economic Affairs Division(EAD) Tariq Bajwa, briefed the meeting about the schedule of different events to be held during the annual general meeting of IDB from 17th to 19th of May. The Minister gave instructions for completing all the preparations in time to ensure active participation of Pakistan’s delegation at the meeting.

Secretary EAD also briefed the Minister regarding the various projects currently under implementation with the assistance of IDB. He also gave an account of the financing operations of International Islamic Trade Financing (ITFC), which is a part of the IsDB group and provides commodity financing to Pakistan.  

The Minister stated that IDB was an important development partner for Pakistan. He directed EAD to ensure optimal utilization of the financial resources being provided by the Islamic Development Bank. 

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

 
May 08, 2016 (PR No. 1621)

Finance Minister chaired meeting of the Laws Review Committee

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired meeting of the Laws Review Committee here Sunday.

The meeting had detailed deliberations on the Draft Amendment Bill  relating to appointment of members of the Election Commission of Pakistan and other ancillary matters which would come up for discussion at the meeting of Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms on Monday.

The Committee also had discussion on the Draft Apprenticeship Bill, Credit Bureaus (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 and Public Private Partnership Authority Bill, 2016 which are pending consideration in the National Assembly and Senate of Pakistan.

Members of the committee also had in depth exchange of views on different proposals on bringing improvement in legislative procedures.  

Federal Minister for Law, Zahid Hamid, Minister of State for Information Technology, Anusha Rehman Khan and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law, Barrister Zafarullah Khan attended the meeting.

 
May 07, 2016 (PR No. 1620)

Finance Minister chaired meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCOP)

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCOP) here on Saturday.

At the outset, Chairman Privatization Division, Mohammad Zubair, gave a presentation to the meeting about the privatization program as envisaged by the Division in future.

The CCOP accorded approval for divestment of Government’s Residual Shareholdings in Kot Adu Power Company Ltd (KAPCO) and also approved sale of shares of Mari Petroleum Company Ltd through the domestic stock exchange or offering them to the shareholders.

The CCOP approved proposals to include the Industrial Development Bank and Telephone Industries of Pakistan in the priority list of entities for early privatization.

The meeting  had a detailed review of matters pertaining to Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and decided that response from the Sind Government on Federal Government’s offer to acquire PSM may be ascertained by June 10, 2016 so that further action in the matter could be taken. The CCOP observed that the Government could not afford to just keep paying salaries to the employees without any production taking place, and that a decision has to be taken soon enough to avoid the losses that were accumulating by the hour.

The CCOP had detailed discussion on the matters relating to PIA. The chair gave instructions for completing, on priority, all necessary formalities to convert PIA from a corporation into a public limited company in the light of the bill passed by the parliament.  He said the Government has the resolve to revamp and refurbish the national airline so that it could provide quality travel and cargo services in accordance with international standards.

 
May 07, 2016 (PR No. 1619)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of ECC

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) at the Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday.

The ECC at the outset considered and accorded approval for payment of two months’ salaries to the employees of Pakistan Steel Mills, amounting to Rs.858 million.

ECC allowed WAPDA to raise a loan of Rs.25 billion from local banks under the sovereign guarantee of the Government of Pakistan for making payment of arrears for Net Hydel Profits (NHP) to the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhua, during the current fiscal year 2015-16. A total amount of Rs.70 billion was settled between the Federal and Provincial government of KP on account of uncapped NHP as full and final settlement of the claims. The amount will be paid in 4 tranches comprising Rs. 25 billion in the current financial year and Rs.15 billion every year for the next 3 years.

ECC also extended the date for reduced rate of withholding tax on banking transactions @4% on non-filers till 31st May 2016 under section 236p of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001.

On a proposal made by Ministry of Water and Power for providing “Fiscal Incentives For Promotion of Energy Efficiency and Conservation”, the Chair directed that such proposals could only be entertained through the Finance Bill.  He further desired that Ministry of Industries, Ministry of Climate Change, FBR and Ministry of Water and Power should bring forward a joint proposal to be introduced through the Finance Bill in this respect.

ECC approved extension in the period of Export Processing Zone Status of Duddar Project. The extension will now be available till 14th January 2035 and will facilitate promotion foreign investment of a project in public interest. The recommendation for the extension in this period was given by a special committee formed under the chairmanship of Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law.

ECC also gave approval to the revision of margins of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and Dealers on petroleum products. According to the recommendation of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, the margins are now linked to CPI. The increase in the margins includes 6 paisas for MS Petrol and HSD for the OMCs; 8 paisas for MS Petrol and 7 paisas on HSD for the Dealers. The new margins will be applicable with effect from 1st July 2016 onwards.

 
May 06, 2016 (PR No. 1618)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of the Laws Review Committee

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting of the Laws Review Committee here on Friday.

The meeting discussed the legislative agenda for the next sessions of National Assembly and the Senate. The “Credit Bureaus (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016” and “The Public Private Partnership Authority Bill, 2016” which are likely to be laid before the National Assembly in its upcoming session were discussed in detail.

The Public Private Partnership authority Bill, 2016 aims at providing a regulatory and enabling environment for private participation in provision of public infrastructure and related services through fair and transparent procurement process.

The Finance Minister said that it is the foremost priority of the present government to boost the development of infrastructure in the country with the participation of the private sector. At the same time it was essential to maintain the highest standards of transparency. He hoped that the proposed legislation will help achieve these objectives.

Minister for Law, Zahid Hamid, Minister of State for IT, Anusha Rehman Khan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law, Barrister Zafarullah Khan and Secretary to Prime Minister, Fawad Hasan Fawad attended the meeting.

 
May 06, 2016 (PR No. 1617)

Finance Minister made a telephone call to Dr. Farooq Sattar, senior MQM leader

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar made a telephone call to Dr. Farooq Sattar, senior MQM leader here Friday.

The Finance Minister while talking to Farooq Sattar, expressed sorrow and grief over the death of his Coordinator, Aftab Ahmed, who had died in custody a few days ago.

The Minister stated that the Government would make sure that justice is served in the matter.

 
May 06, 2016 (PR No. 1616)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the working of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS)

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting to review the working of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), here on Friday.

The Chief Statistician briefed the Minister on various activities of PBS. He made a detailed presentation on the “Urban  Rural Areas Frame Updation” Project and informed that the PBS surveyors have done most of the work of compilation of the digital map of the urban areas of Pakistan. The remaining work will be completed in within 6-8 weeks time. The work has been carried out in coordination with the provincial governments. 

The Minister directed that the survey of Rural Areas may also be initiated and completed expeditiously, so that updated data is available to the decision makers for informed decisions. 

Mr. Bajwa also briefed the Minister regarding the project of “Rebasing of National Accounts”. It was stated that PBS has completed four surveys, including Construction Survey, Small & Household Manufacturing Industries Survey, Rent survey, House hold integrated Income and Consumption Survey. In the coming year Agriculture survey, Industrial Survey, Wholesale and Retail Trade Survey, Study on Road Transport and Electricity Establishment Survey shall be completed.

The Chief Statistician further informed the Minister that PBS has started a program for the In-house Training and skill improvement of its staff for better performance. Along with improving the skills, new technologies and software updates are also being introduced to ensure better performance of the Institution.

The Finance Minister appreciated the initiative of PBS team on skill improvement and directed that the remaining work on the collection of data and necessary information should be completed as soon as possible.

The meeting was participated by the senior officials of Ministry of Finance and Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

 
May 05, 2016 (PR No. 1615)

Finance Minister met with JICA Delegation

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar met JICA Delegation, headed by Mr. Yasushi Kanzaki, Vice-President JICA, here on the sidelines of the ADB’s Annual Board of Governors Meeting.

The Finance Minister appreciated the Government of Japan / JICA for their continued support for economic development of Pakistan. He expressed gratitude for Government of Japan’s financial assistance which stands at US$ 1.4 Billion.

The Minister also thanked the Japanese delegation for Japan’s contribution of US$ 50 million during 2014-15 and further commitment of US$ 43 million (approx) for 2015-16 for Energy Sector reforms Programme (II).  He informed the Japanese side that Karachi Circular Railway is a project of national importance and urged Mr. Kanzaki to expedite action for providing firm commitment for funding the project. The Minister expressed his desire for enhancing the level of economic cooperation between the two countries.  

The JICA delegation reciprocated the intention of enhancing the level of bilateral cooperation. Matters relating to ongoing projects being funded by JICA in Pakistan also came under discussion. It was noted that these projects were making satisfactory progress.

Mr. Tariq Bajwa, Secretary EAD and other members of Pakistan’s delegation also attended the meeting.

 
May 04, 2016 (PR No. 1614)

Finance Minister Statement on 49th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governor's of ADB, Frankfurt Germany

Mr. Chairman, President Nakao, fellow Governors, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen.

Heartfelt thanks to the Chair and the Government and people of Germany for their warm reception and hospitality in hosting ADB Annual Meeting.

I am happy to extend my deep appreciation to President Nakao and his Management team and staff for making this event a success. I feel privileged to take part in this momentous event and to renew my country’s commitment in realization of ADB’s vision of an Asia-Pacific region that is poverty-free.

Mr. Chairman

We meet at a time of much more challenging global environment than previous years. However, developing countries in Asia have shown a consummate resilience than the rest of world. Developing Asia is projected to grow at 5.7% in both 2016 and 2017 down moderately from 5.9% registered in 2015. While the projection is good, this does not allow us to be complacent as there are internal and external challenges in the shape of global headwinds and moderating growth in China.

Mr. Chairman

Pakistan’s economy has continued to demonstrate resilience to cope with security challenges, continuing war against terrorism and the lingering impact of consistent floods resulting from climate change. Under the present Government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan has embarked upon a journey of development to tackle these challenges head-on and within less than three years of assumption of office, our government has achieved impressive results. Macro-Economic stability has been achieved due to a comprehensive reform agenda including structural reforms especially in the field of energy sector coupled with monetary and fiscal discipline. In order to mitigate any adverse impact on the marginalized section of society, expenditure on the social safety net has been enhanced by 280%. The Government has focused on bringing improvement in the real sectors of growth through improvement in agriculture, industrial and service sectors.

These signs of progress are the source of our confidence that Pakistan would soon move to a path of higher sustainable and inclusive growth leading to jobs creation, poverty reduction and improvement in other socio-economic indices. Prime Minister’s National Health Insurance Program has been launched in compliance with the Government of Pakistan’s commitment to the principle of universal health coverage and to improve access of the socially disadvantaged population to medical services.

Mr. Chairman

Based on the progress and achievements made so far, various international think tanks and research groups have recognized Pakistan’s impressive turnaround. Rating agencies have raised our economic outlook from negative to stable to positive. Japan’s JETRO has declared Pakistan as likely to be the second choicest place for foreign direct investment.

Mr. Chairman

ADB has been a long and trusted development partner for Pakistan. Government of Pakistan highly appreciates the role of ADB in formulation of Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the years 2015-19 that will focus on infrastructure development to help attract private investment, improve connectivity, boost productivity, create jobs and provide access to markets and basic public services. ADB’s indicative assistance of US$ 4 billion for the three-years (2016-18) is greatly appreciated.

Mr. Chairman,

Regional cooperation and integration is one of the key pillars of ADB's Strategy 2020. Regional connectivity is also one of the seven key elements of Pakistan’s Vision 2025 and therefore, Pakistan seeks to expand its trade and investment links with the region in the east, west and central Asia. In line with this objective, it is a great pleasure for the Government of Pakistan to be the host for holding the Ministerial Conference of CAREC later this year.

Mr. Chairman

I would like to conclude by felicitating ADB for pursuing the reform agenda set out in the medium-term review of Strategy 2020 (MTR) for realigning its strategic agenda in light of the emerging development challenges facing the Asia and Pacific region.

Mr. Chairman

Under able and dynamic leadership of President Nakao, the merger of OCR and ADF financial resources and other reform initiatives will enhance ADB’s financial capacity and is an innovative and interesting approach to address the Bank’s longer-term sustainability.

We trust that ADB will continue to explore all efforts to make its resources available to its developing member countries at most affordable terms so as to achieve progress that is truly inclusive and meaningful. Indeed, we look forward to a much greater and more fruitful collaboration with ADB. Thank you, Mr. Chair

 
May 04, 2016 (PR No. 1613)

Finance Minister held a meeting with Chinese Delegation

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, here on Wednesday had a meeting with Chinese Delegation on 4th May, 2016 on the sidelines of the ADB’s Annual Board of Governors Meeting 

The Finance Minister on the occasion said that Pakistan-China friendship enjoys across-the-board political, institutional and popular support in Pakistan. He appreciated leadership and hard work of the Chinese Finance Minister and his team for establishment of AIIB. He thanked him for providing valuable support to Pakistan for different projects including projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).  As a result of Chinese support for mega projects including projects under CPEC, the interest of international development agencies and other private investors has increased manifold. The Finance Minister particularly highlighted macro-economic reform agenda of the government that has resulted in revival of economy.

Chinese Finance Minister said that he is very pleased to know that Pakistan has made progress on the economic front. China will do its best to support Pakistan in its different development initiatives. He was delighted to learn that the first batch of projects to be cleared by AIIB’s Board will include projects from Pakistan.

Mr. Ishaq Dar invited the Chinese Finance Minister for a visit to Pakistan. 

The Chinese Finance Minister thanked Mr. Ishaq Dar for his kind invitation and warm wishes. 

 
May 03, 2016 (PR No. 1612)

Finance Minister attended the meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar attended the 10th Informal Meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers on the sidelines of the ADB’s Annual Board of Governors Meeting in Frankfurt, Germany.

Speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister reiterated Pakistan’s support to the idea of promoting regional connectivity across the SAARC region by strengthening cooperation in the areas of transportation, investment and trade. Finance Minister stressed the need for greater and meaningful cooperation among member states and offered to host the next meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers between 15th of July and end August, 2016.

The Minister appreciated the role of ADB and its commitment to homogeneous economic development across the sub regions of Asia. He emphasized the need of transformation of South Asia Transport Corridor by focusing on enhanced transport network, trade liberalization and building nodes and gate ways to link the SAARC region.

He informed SAARC Finance Ministers that the development of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would play an important role in connecting SAARC with Central Asian Region. He suggested that various new financial cooperation modes like economic and infrastructure projects through SAARC Development Fund needed to be initiated, in collaboration with other development partners to establish an economic corridor connecting the South Asian economies.

 
May 03, 2016 (PR No. 1611)

Finance Minister held a meeting with the Finance Minister of Afghanistan Eklil Ahmad Hakimi

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, held a meeting with the Finance Minister of Afghanistan Eklil Ahmad Hakimi on the sidelines of the ADB’s Annual Board of Governors Meeting in Frankfurt, Germany. 

The two Finance Ministers discussed matters relating to bilateral economic cooperation and progress with regard to the mutual agreements reached during the last Joint Ministerial Commission meeting in Islamabad. Minister Dar assured the Afghan counterpart that progress is being made on the agreed actions and the bilateral projects shall be completed expeditiously. He also reiterated Pakistan's support for peace and prosperity in Afghanistan. 

Mr. Hakimi, invited the Finance Minister to Afghanistan for the next session of Joint Ministerial Commission to be held in Kabul. He said that the regional projects i.e. CASA-1000 and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline are immensely important for the regional countries and joint efforts should be made for their expeditious implementation. He also sought Pakistan’s support as founding member of AIIB for Afghanistan’s membership. He also invited the Finance Minister to visit on the occassion of inauguration of Torkham-Jalalabad Road

The Finance Minister accepted the invitation extended by Mr. Hakimi and stated that mutually convenient dates for the JMC will be agreed  by the two sides for the purpose. The Minister also assured Mr. Hakimi of Pakistan’s support for Afghanistan’s membership of AIIB. 

The Finance Minister was accompanied by Mr. Tariq Bajwa, Secretary EAD and other members of Pakistan’s delegation.

 
May 03, 2016 (PR No. 1610)

Finance Minister participated in seminar on Asia-Europe Economic Cooperation

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, participated as panelist in the seminar on “Asia-Europe  Economic Cooperation: Fostering Greater Trade and Investment” on the sidelines of ADB’s Annual Board of Governors Meeting here.

Other panelists were Mr. Liqun Jin, President AIIB, Mr. Ulrich Schroder, CEO KFW, Mr. Kae Yanagisawa, Vice President JICA, and Mr. Stephen P. Groff, Vice President ADB. Mr. Toby Fildes, Managing Editor of Emerging Markets, moderated the seminar.

The Minister spoke on issues relating to the slowdown in world trade growth impacting Asia- Europe economic cooperation; scaling up of economic cooperation with European countries and its diversification for mutual benefit. The Minister emphasized that Europe and Asia must review their existing arrangements, open up markets by cutting down on tariff and non-tariff barriers. On infrastructure financing, the multilateral development banks must come up with new instruments e.g. bonds to bridge this gap. He also dwelled upon intellectual property rights and expanding e-commerce.

The seminar concluded with Question and Answer session with the audience.

 
May 02, 2016 (PR No. 1609)

Finance Minister met with President of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

Mr. Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics& Privatization held a meeting with Mr. JinLiqun, President Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) who was accompanied by Mr. Zhou Yong, Senior Adviser to the President, Sir Danny Alexander, Vice President, Mr. Huan Chen, Chief Officer and Henry Bell, Senior Secretariat Officer, on 2nd May, 2016 on the sidelines of the ADB’s Annual Board of Governors Meeting in Frankfurt, Germany. The Finance Minister was accompanied by Mr. Tariq Bajwa, Secretary EAD and other members of Pakistan’s delegation.

President Jin congratulated the Finance Minister on the economic turnaround in Pakistan under the leadership of Prime Minister and the Finance Minister’s stewardship. He further stated that AIIB was confident that after having achieved macro-economic stability, Pakistan is poised to move to a higher trajectory of economic growth and that AIIB is willing to continue its support in the months to come.

AIIB President Jin Liqun praised Pakistan’s rich potential in infrastructure sector and expressed his interest to finance infrastructure projects in Pakistan. AIIB will provide US$ 100 million as co-financing for the M-4 Motorway Shorkot-Khanewal Section.

President AIIB assured to continue its support in the months to come.

 
May 02, 2016 (PR No. 1608)

Finance Minister arrived Frankfurt to attend ADB Meeting

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar arrived here on Sunday to lead the Pakistan delegation at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of Asian Development Bank.

On arrival the Minister was received by senior ADB, German Government and Pakistan Embassy officials.

The Minister later attended a special briefing session arranged by the Pakistan Embassy where he was apprised about schedule of events of ADB meeting as well as his engagements on the sidelines of the main event.

The ADB meeting would officially open on 2nd May with discussion on Germany’s Energy Transition. Finance Minister on the opening day would meet the AIIB delegation, along with the Pakistan delegation. He will later attend meeting on Regional Infrastructure for Development of Afghanistan besides participating in panel discussion on Asia-Europe Economic Cooperation. The Minister on the  opening day would also attend the Host Country Reception along with Pakistani delegation.

During the course of the 4-day event, the Minister will have interaction with finance ministers/delegations of other countries on the sidelines of the main event. He will also participate in seminars and panel discussions on the topics of “Structural Reforms: Pathways to Sustainable Growth”, “How Trade, Technology and New Business Models are shaping Asia’s Quest for Good Jobs” and other subjects.

 
May 02, 2016 (PR No. 1607)

Period for WHT reduced rate extended by another month

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar as Chairman, Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) has accorded anticipatory approval for extension in the period of applicability of reduced rate of withholding tax @ 0.4 per cent on banking transactions bynon-filers up to 31st May, 2016.

 
April 30, 2016 (PR No. 1606)

Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Peter Felten called on Finance Minister

Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Peter Felten called on Finance Minster Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here.

The German Deputy Envoy felicitated Minister Dar on the signing of the agreement between Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Karandaaz Pakistan (funded by UK’s Department for International Development) and Germany’s Kreditanstaltfür Wiederaufbau (KfW) Bank for the establishment of Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (PMIC).

Minister Dar also welcomed the agreement and appreciated the contribution of KfW in the PMIC as one of the shareholders. He also lauded the continued German support for different development projects in Pakistan.

Mr. Peter Felten discussed with the Minister programme of his engagements at the forthcoming Annual Meeting of Asian Development Bank being held in Frankfurt from 2-5 May 2016. The Minister said that he looked forward to his meetings with German leadership, specially the German Minister for Economic Cooperation & Development, Dr. Gerd Muller , during his stay in Frankfurt.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.

 
April 30, 2016 (PR No. 1605)

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 Ministry of Finance.

The meeting had detailed discussion on the Draft Apprenticeship Bill, initiated by Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, besides having deliberations on other legislative proposals to be tabled in the National Assembly during the next session. The status of processing of various other legislative proposals which currently are at draft stage, was also reviewed.

Minister for Law and Justice, Zahid Hamid, Minister of State for IT, Anusha Rehman Khan and Special Assistant to Prime Minister, Khawaja Zaheer Ahmed and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law, Barrister Zafarullah Khan  attended the meeting.

 
April 29, 2016 (PR No. 1604)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review progress on sustainable growth

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division to review the progress on reforms related to sustainable and inclusive growth.

Secretary Finance, Dr. Waqar Masood Khan briefed the meeting about the progress of ongoing  reforms,  specially measures taken to facilitate the deprived segments through the Income Support Program. He also briefed the meeting on proposed measures to be taken in the upcoming budget to enhance financial inclusion of people in the under served areas.

The Finance Minister on the occasion said that by better fiscal management the government has brought down the budget deficit from 8.8% to around 4.3%. The tax net is being expanded and revenue growth has touched 19% this year. The international credit agencies have improved their ratings for Pakistan and we have come a long way on the road to macro-economic stability and now tread on the path to sustainable and inclusive growth. 

The Minister directed that proposals for Budget 2016-17 should be formulated keeping in views focus of the Government on achieving higher growth which will help generate more employment opportunities.

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

 
April 29, 2016 (PR No. 1603)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review budget proposals of the FBR

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division to review budget proposals of the FBR.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister, Mr. Haroon Akhtar Khan was present on the occasion.

Chairman FBR, Nisar Mohammad Khan informed the meeting that in  line with Finance Minister’s instructions passed last week, the FBR officials have held meetings with different  stakeholders including traders organizations, chambers of commerce and industries, professionals and experts, having discussion over budget proposals. Useful inputs have been sought from them and would be thoroughly perused before budget proposals are finalized, the meeting was apprised.

The Finance Minister expressed satisfaction over the state of revenue collection in the current fiscal year. The Minister said that this spirit should be kept up in the coming fiscal year and efforts made for further growth in revenue which is key component of the overall inclusive growth strategy. He said that FBR should provide maximum facilitation to the tax payers.

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

 
April 28, 2016 (PR No. 1602)

PPAF, Karandaaz Pakistan and KfW Sign Agreement to Establish Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company

The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Karandaaz Pakistan (funded by UK’s Department for International Development) and Germany’s KreditanstaltfürWiederaufbau (KfW) signed the Shareholders’ Agreement for the establishment of Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (PMIC) at a ceremony held today in Islamabad. The signing ceremony was attended by the Honourable Finance Minister, Senator Ishaq Dar and representatives of the German and U K governments. The Shareholders Agreement was signed by CEO PPAF, Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO Karandaz, Mr. Ali Sarfraz Hussain and Dr. Pervaiz Naeem, Deputy Head of KFW Pakistan.

The establishment of PMIC, a private sector Investment Finance Company, was identified as one of the key milestones in the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) launched by the Honourable Finance Minister in May 2015. The Finance Minister said it is the goal of the government to meet the needs and aspirations of the poor and marginalized and disadvantaged households. The National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) launched by our government in May 2015 is targeted towards helping the poor segments of the society through financial inclusion. Today is indeed a momentous occasion for us, when we are establishing a new entity to spur the microfinance sector in Pakistan to the next level of growth.  I would like to congratulate the shareholders of PMIC (PPAF, DFID through Karandaaz Pakistan and the German Development Bank KfW) and the UK and German governments for achieving this important milestone.

The objective of the Company is to provide much needed liquidity to microfinance providers serving the poor and micro and small enterprises in Pakistan. It is estimated that PMIC financing could support nearly 300,000 new job opportunities every year.

Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO PPAF said, “This is a watershed moment for the microfinance sector, as the PMIC will build upon the foundations we laid fifteen years ago by providing responsible financial services to the millions of poor and financially excluded individuals of Pakistan. The new company is expected to commence operations by July 1, 2016 after completing regulatory requirements and 50% of the loans served by PMIC will be directed to women and rural areas”

Speaking at the occasion Deputy Head of DFID Pakistan, Judith Herbertson, said:” I am extremely pleased that the UK is associated with PMIC through Karandaaz Pakistan. This builds on our long-standing support to the financial inclusion agenda in Pakistan which has worked with the State Bank of Pakistan to leverage over £100 million to the microfinance sector, supported over 2 million people to gain access to microcredit”.

“We believe that PMIC will help the microfinance sector reach the huge numbers of people in Pakistan who do not have access to microfinance services and contribute to job creation and growth of micro and small businesses in the country”.

The new company will be set up as a Non-Bank Finance Company (NBFC) and will be led by a highly competent professional board. PPAF is providing PKR 3,000 million, DFID £15 million and KfW €7 million as initial equity contributions for this venture.

 
April 27, 2016 (PR No. 1601)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to discuss FATA related issues

The Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here Tuesday to discuss FATA related issues.

Governor KPK, Zafar Iqbal Jhagra, Minister for States & Frontier Regions, Abdul Qadir Baloch, Senators / MNAs  belonging to FATA and senior officials of Ministry of Finance, SAFRON and FATA Secretariat participated in the meeting.

During the meeting matters relating to development activities in the area as well as the long term rehabilitation of the region came under discussion. 

The Finance Minister said the present government under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is determined to create more economic opportunities in FATA and integrate it with the rest of the country. He said that the uplift of FATA is a priority for the Government. The government is committed to meet the expenses on rehabilitation of Temporarily Displaced Persons(TDPs) and reconstruction work in the affected areas of FATA and necessary resources will be made available for the purpose. 

MNAs/Senators from FATA thanked the Finance Minister for the interest being taken by the Government for uplift of FATA, specially the efforts for rehabilitation of TDPs.

 
April 26, 2016 (PR No. 1600)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the final draft of the Budget Strategy Paper

Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting to review the final draft of the Budget Strategy Paper, for the period 2016-17 to 2018-19 here on Tuesday. The strategy will be presented to the Federal Cabinet for approval on 27th April, 2016.

The Minister was briefed on the broad contours of the macroeconomic framework, which formed the basis of the budget strategy for the next three years period. It was also informed that wide ranging inter departmental consultation as various discussion held during the meetings of economic fora, especially Economic Advisory Council and Monetary & Fiscal Policies Coordination Board had provided useful guidance for the preparation of the draft Strategy.

The meeting noted that all the macroeconomic indicators presented a satisfactory picture on the eve of the fourth budget of the present government.

The Minister issued instructions for making appropriate improvements in the strategy to ensure that the focus during the next three years period remains on accelerated and inclusive growth. He stated that the PML-N manifesto should continue to be the guiding light for the budget strategy as well as the annual budgets.

 
April 25, 2016 (PR No. 1599)

Canadian High Commissioner, Ms. Heather Cruden paid a farewell call on Finance Minister

Canadian High Commissioner, Ms. Heather Cruden paid a farewell call on Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar on Monday.

The current profile of Pak-Canada economic cooperation was discussed during the meeting. Other development projects financed from Canadian assistance and undertaken through local and international NGOs, UN, World Bank and local governments in the areas of sustainable economic growth, basic education, gender equality and different other fields also came under discussion.

The Minister acknowledged the Canadian assistance for different development projects and appreciated the contribution of the High Commissioner for strengthening Pak-Canada economic cooperation.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar shared with the Candian envoy Government’s plan for achieving sustainable & inclusive economic growth taking advantage of the macroeconomic stabilization achieved during the last 3 years. He also shared with Ms. Heather Cruden, government’s concerted efforts for rehabilitation of TDPs.

Ms Heather Cruden said that she was taking with her fond memories of her stay in Pakistan. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar wished her the best in future assignments.

 
April 25, 2016 (PR No. 1598)

Preparations for ADB Meeting

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammmad Ishaq Dar here on Monday chaired a meeting to review preparations regarding participation of Pakistan’s delegation in the forthcoming 49th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Finance Minister who represents Pakistan on the Board of Governors of the Bank, would lead Pakistan’s delegation at the meeting which would be held at Frankfurt, Germany from 2-5 May 2016.

During his stay at Frankfurt, besides participating in the scheduled events including meetings with senior ADB officials, the Minister would also have interaction with finance ministers/delegations of other countries on the sidelines of the main event.The Minister will also participate in seminars and panel discussions on the topics of "Structural Reforms: Pathways to Sustainable Growth", "How Trade, Technology and New Business Models are shaping Asia's Quest for Good Jobs" and other subjects.

German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Muller would perform official opening of the event.

 
April 24, 2016 (PR No. 1597)

Relief Package For Ramadan, 2016

Finance Minister and Chairman Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC), Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has asked Ministry of Industries and Production to prepare the Special Ramadan Package and submit the same for consideration of the ECC within ten days.

In this regard a letter has been sent to the Secretary, Industries and Production.

The Minister said that keeping in line with the present government’s past practice, Relief Package would continue to be offered through the Utility Stores for facilitation of the general public in the holy month of Ramadan.

A number of items, particularly those commonly used in Ramadan would be provided to the people at prices comparatively lower to rates prevalent in the open market, the Minister added.

Government would ensure smooth supply of these commodities at the Utility Stores throughout the holy month, the Minister remarked.

 
April 24, 2016 (PR No. 1596)

Finance Minister approved incentive grant for provinces

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar has approved release of Rs 2,214.5 million incentive grant for immediate apportionment among the provinces for the October-December quarter of current fiscal year 2015-16.

As approved, Punjab will receive Rs 574.6 million, Sindh Rs 440.7 million, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rs 411.3 million, while Baluchistan's share is Rs 787.9 million. 

It may be recalled that the Council of Common Interests on July 31, 2013 had decided that the provinces will be allowed rate of return on their surpluses at the rate of latest T-Bills rate, maintained for a minimum of three months. 

In accordance with the decision, the incentive grant is released to the provinces on quarterly basis.

 
April 23, 2016 (PR No. 1595)

Clarification - Spokesperson for Finance Minister

A spokesperson for Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar said here Saturday that most of the electronic and print media misread and wrongly reported that annual returns of assets and liabilities filed with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) show that Finance Minister, Senator Ishaq Dar has taken loan from his sons.

The spokesman said that Mr. Ishaq Dar has not taken any loan/Qarz e Hasna rather he had given Qarz e Hasna to his sons and the same was duly declared in the annual returns filed for the year 2014 with the ECP.

The sons of Senator Ishaq Dar have paid back the entire Qarz e Hasna given to them by their father which is duly declared in the latest return filed with the ECP, the spokesman concluded.

 
April 22, 2016 (PR No. 1594)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of (ECNEC)

The meeting of Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) was held here Friday under the chairmanship of Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar.

ECNEC considered and approved proposal submitted by Ministry of Ports & Shipping regarding provision of Coal Conveying System from Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (PIBT) to Railway Network at Port Qasim at revised cost of Rs.13,332.849 million.

ECNEC also considered a proposal submitted by Ministry of Communication regarding Construction of  Motorway from Burhan/Hakla on M-1 to D.I.Khan at the rationalized cost of Rs. 124,208.00 million. Ministry of Communication informed the meeting that the route for the motorway was as per the Joint Declaration issued after the All Parties Conference. Another proposal by Ministry of Communication regarding land acquisition, affected properties compensation and relocation of utilities for construction of the Burhan/Hakia to D.I.Khan motorway was also considered at the rationalized cost of Rs 11,973.00 million. ECNEC approved the two projects, subject to formal confirmation of the route being in accordance with the understanding contained in the Joint Declaration of the APC.  

ECNEC also considered and approved the proposal from Ministry of Ports & Shipping for construction of bridge across river Indus connecting, Larkana& Khairpur districts with approach roads and river training works at a revised cost of Rs 13,397.00 million.

ECNEC approved Kaitu Weir Irrigation & Power Project of Kurram Tangi Dam in Spinwam area of North Waziristan at rationalized cost of Rs. 21,059.26 million.

After detailed deliberations, ECNEC approved the proposal of Ministry of Communications for Construction of Black Top Road Yakmach-Kharan via Distain Wadh Khurmagai in Baluchistan at the firmed up cost of Rs 13,758.00 million.

 
April 22, 2016 (PR No. 1593)

Meeting reviewed performance of Privatization Commission

A meeting chaired by Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Friday reviewed the overall working and performance of the Privatization Commission.

Chairman Privatization Commission, Mohammad Zubair gave a short overview of the performance of the Commission during the first nine months of the current fiscal year. The chairman also briefed the meeting about the projects that were in the pipeline including the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM).

The Finance Minister directed that response of the Sindh Government to Federal Government’s offer for acquiring the PSM may be ascertained on priority so that an appropriate decision in the matter is taken without further delay.

The Finance Minister also directed Chairman Privatization Commission, Finance Secretary and Secretary Privatization Commission to pursue pending issues with M/S Etisalat and hold a meeting with them for early settlement.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Privatization Commission attended the meeting.

 
April 22, 2016 (PR No. 1592)

FBR asked to discuss proposals for budget 2016-17 with stakeholders

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq has directed the FBR to discuss  proposals for budget 2016-17 with stakeholders before these are finalized.

The Minister chaired a high level meeting at FBR on Friday where has was given a briefing on Pakistan’s existing agreements on Avoidance of Double Taxation with different countries. The Minister said the agreements needed to be revisited for introducing possible changes/improvements in line with latest international trends.

The current profile of revenue generation and efforts regarding achievement of targets set for the year 2015-16 were also discussed. The Minister said the fact that there has been no downward revision in revenue target for the current fiscal year is highly commendable. While the Minister lauded growth achieved in the revenue collection in first nine months of the current fiscal year, he said that with continued hard work FBR would Inshallah achieve the assigned targets.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Division, Mr. Haroon Akhtar Khan, Chairman FBR, Nisar Mohammad Khan and senior officials of the Federal Board of Revenue were present in the meeting.

 
April 21, 2016 (PR No. 1591)

Legal Notices served on Salman Iqbal, Arshad Sharif, Assad Kharal

An official spokesperson said here Thursday that Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar has taken strong exception to the defamatory and slanderous telecasts/publications against him by ARY News through its Programme “News @ 3 with Maria Memon” aired on 16th April 2016.

The spokesman said that legal notices have been served on ARY CEO, Salman Iqbal, anchors Arshad Sharif and Assad Kharal for airing libelous content and alleging that Finance Minister, Mohammad Ishaq Dar held a meeting with Panamian Deputy Minister for Economy, Ivan Zarak in Washington, without seeking any confirmation.

It may be added that the Finance Ministry’s spokesperson forthwith rebuffed reports about Panamian Deputy Minister, Ivan Zarak’s meeting with Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar but the ARY tirade against the Minister went unabated.

The spokesperson said the fact remains that the totally fictitious content of telecast/publications by ARY were meant to malign the Finance Minister and put to question his personal integrity and ruin the good name that he has earned during his prestigious career as a professional and a political figure, spanning over four decades. The programme violated provisions of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002 and the Electronic Media (Programme and Advertisements) Code of Conduct 2015 by publishing and transmitting false and incorrect statements in an irresponsible manner.

The spokesperson said that legal notices on Mr. Salman Iqbal (ARY), Mr. Arshad Sharif and Mr. Asad Kharal have been served under section 8 of the Defamation Ordinance 2002. The respondents have been called upon to publish apology in reputed Urdu and English dailies and also broadcast the same with prominence within fifteen days. In addition, each of them also has been asked to pay a sum of rupees one billion each to the Finance Minister in damages failing which legal proceedings against them would be initiated. 

            Further, a complaint has also been registered with PEMRA under section 26(2) of PEMRA Ordinance 2002 against ARY channel, its CEO and the anchors named above for airing a slanderous and libelous programme about the Finance Minister, the spokesperson added.

            The spokesperson said that the Panamian Deputy Minister, Ivan Zarak’s denial of the report about meeting with Finance Minister and Panamian Government’s message of apology to Finance Minister over the incorrect statement given by their Deputy Minister, doubly confirms Finance Minister’s denial of ARY’s news telecast and more than that strengthens Finance Minister’s stance taken against ARY CEO and its anchors.

 
April 21, 2016 (PR No. 1590)

Indonesian State Audit Board (SAB) met with Finance Minister

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar received a delegation of the Indonesian State Audit Board (SAB) which was led by the Board Chairman, Harry Azhar Azis, at the Ministry of Finance, today.

Finance Minister welcomed the Indonesian delegation and said that Pakistan and Indonesia have always enjoyed very cordial bilateral relations. 

The Finance Minister stated that office of Auditor General of Pakistan has a key role in ensuring transparency, fair play and good governance. He said that the Constitution of Pakistan has granted the necessary powers to the office of Auditor General so that it can effectively perform its oversight functions. He said the present government believes in the principles of transparency and accountability in financial management and fully supports the role of the Auditor General to ensure that these principles are followed in practice.  He said quality audit and financial discipline can help achieve the goal of good governance.

Mr. Azis briefed the Minister about the composition and working of the State Audit Board of Indonesia. He stated that the Board also enjoyed wide powers, similar to the Auditor General of Pakistan. He proposed enhanced cooperation and knowledge sharing between the Audit institutions of the two countries. 

The Minister assured the visiting delegation that the government will fully support the initiatives of the two Audit institutions for enhancing bilateral cooperation in the field of Audit with a view to learn and benefit from each other's experience.

Minister Dar stated that both Pakistan and Indonesia could make joint efforts to enhance cooperation among Muslim countries in the field of audit, accounts and financial management. Chairman SAB welcomed the proposal. Both agreed that such cooperation could be pursued through the forum of OIC.

Auditor General of Pakistan, Rana Assad Amin, senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and AGP office were present on the occasion.

 
April 21, 2016 (PR No. 1589)

Italian delegation met with Finance Minister

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar had a meeting with the visiting Italian business delegation here on Thursday. The delegation was led by Mr. Carlo Formosa, Dy. Director General, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and included representatives of Bellelli Engineering, Electtronica, ENI, CNH, Finmeccanica, ICE, Mpaei, Beretta and SACE.  

The senior executives of these reputed Italian firms shared with the Finance Minister their plans for possible investment in different areas in Pakistan including automotive industry, oil and gas, agriculture, security and aviation sectors. It was informed that following the recent announcement of auto policy by the government, Italian automotive companies are keenly looking for investments options in the auto sector.

“Pakistan has become fashionable in Italy, People have deep interest in visiting this country and explore investment opportunities”, said Mr. Carlo Formosa. He said Italy has the desire to see resurgence of Italian brands in Pakistan.

Finance Minister welcomed the investment plans of Italian companies and assured the members of the delegation of all possible cooperation and facilitation by the government. He expressed gratitude to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the support and assistance provided for holding of "Pakistan Trade & Investment Forum" in Italy earlier this month. He said that the Special Economic Zones offer multiple business opportunities, which the Italian companies could look into. There are also opportunities to relocate manufacturing from other areas and regions, where it was no longer competitive, he said. He mentioned areas of renewable energy, auto and agriculture machinery manufacturing and invited Italian businesses to explore them in detail.

Minister Dar directed the Board of Investment, Ministry of Industries as well as Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources to maintain close liaison with the representatives of the Italian companies and provide them complete guidance for the purpose of investment in Pakistan.

 
April 20, 2016 (PR No. 1588)

Finance Minister chaired the meeting of Laws Review Committee

A meeting of the Laws Review Committee was held here Wednesday.  Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting.

The Committee reviewed the present legal position regarding the investment regime governing inflow and outflow of capital in the country. The Committee noted that there was need for a detailed review of the relevant laws to bring them in line with the latest trends and international best practices.

It was decided that the concerned Ministries / authorities should carry out the necessary review and submit proposals, in the form of draft amendments, for consideration of the Committee. The review should aim at removing any loopholes or lacunae in the existing laws which enable windfall gains that are detrimental to  public revenue.

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Law & Justice, Mr. Zahid Hamid, Minister of State for Information Technology, Anusha Rehman Khan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister, Khawaja Zaheer Ahmed, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law, Barrister Zafarullah Khan, Secretary to Prime Minister, Fawad Hassan Fawad and former Attorney General Mr. Salman Aslam Butt.

 
April 19, 2016 (PR No. 1587)

High Commissioner of Australia called on Finance Minister

Ms. Margaret Adamson, the High Commissioner of Australia called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar this afternoon.

The Minister greeted the guest and said that Pakistan highly values its relationship with Australia. The Minister shared with the Australian High Commissioner the achievements and progress attained in the different economic sectors during the current tenure of the government.

Ms. Adamson expressed that she had been impressed by the role played by the Ministry of Finance for the uplift of the economy and specially the expert management of the revenue collection system. The High Commissioner said that the efforts of the Government of Pakistan for the improvement of the economy have been acknowledged by all stakeholders including multilateral and bilateral development partners. The progress made by Pakistan with regard to the ongoing IMF program was also widely acknowledged and appreciated, she said.

Ms. Adamson also discussed with the Minister, a proposal by the Government of Australia to provide assistance in research and data collection and service delivery techniques for the improvement of tax collection services in the country. The Finance Minister directed FBR to look into the proposal and suggest the way forward keeping in view the requirements of the country and the technicalities involved.

The meeting was also attended by the SAPM on Revenue Mr. Haroon Akhtar, Chairman FBR Nisar Mohammad Khan and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.

 
April 19, 2016 (PR No. 1586)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the progress with regard to revenue side of Budget 2016-17

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here today, to review the progress with regard to revenue side of Budget 2016-17. 

Chairman FBR, Nisar Mohammad Khan apprised the meeting that FBR has initiated extensive consultations with the representatives of various sectors of economy, with a view to develop proposals for Finance Bill 2016-17, which help the growth objectives of the industry and the government and at the same time maintain a healthy growth in government revenues. So far FBR has completed consultation with 24 organizations including FPCCI, SECP, Auto industry, marble industry, and discussed their proposals for the upcoming budget. The outcome of the consultative process will be submitted to the Finance Minister in the form of recommendations for budget 2016-17. The Chairman stated that FBR would continue to follow the basic principal of “Differential Taxation” for filers and non-filers. He also briefed the meeting on the progress with regard to rolling back of the remaining SROs. 

Finance Minister appreciated the efforts of the FBR for undertaking wide ranging consultations and directed that other stakeholders may also be consulted before finalizing the recommendations for budget. He said that the revenue collection during the nine months of the current fiscal year was very encouraging and the positive momentum should continue into the next financial year, so that the tax to GDP ratio can be increased to the required level. 

SA to PM on Revenue Mr. Haroon Akhtar and as well as senior officers of FBR and Finance Division participated in the meeting.

 
April 19, 2016 (PR No. 1585)

Finance Minister reviewed preparations for the Operationalization of PMIC

The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting this morning at the Finance Division to review the preparations regarding the operationalization of Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company.

Qazi Ahmad Isa, CEO of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, briefed the Minister that all the legal formalities associated with the Investment Company are being carried out in a transparent manner with the help of SECP. The work on Share Holder’s Agreement is almost complete, which will be signed by PPAF, DFID/Karandaaz  and KFW in the near future. PPAF Board and General Body have approved the amendment in the PPAF's Memorandum & Articles of Association and the SECP has also granted its approval.

 Mr. Isa also briefed the Minister that so far Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund has been achieving its targets on service delivery. PPAF has provided interest free loans to 151,000 borrowers under the PMIFL scheme.

The Finance Minister appreciated the efforts of the PPAF team and directed that the work on operationalisation of PMIC be expedited and the remaining formalities of the shareholding agreement be completed immediately, so that it can be signed within the current month. He said that PMIC is an important initiative and it should be ensured that it becomes operational latest by 1st July, 2016. The Minister also directed the PPAF team to enhance the scope of their work for ensure financial inclusion of a those segments of population which are lagging behind in access to the financial services.

The Minister assured the participants that the Government would continue to support the PPAF with the objective of poverty reduction and financial inclusion. 

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

 
April 18, 2016 (PR No. 1584)

Delegation of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) called on Finance Minister

A 4-member delegation of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) called on the Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar.

Mr. David Molden, the Director General of ICIMOD, briefed the Minister that ICIMOD is a regional organization engaged in providing technical assistance and sharing knowledge on climate issues and environmental stability. It serves eight regional member countries of the Hindukush Himalyas-Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan. The organization is based in Nepal.

Climate change and other issues related with the environment have an increasing influence on the stability of fragile mountain ecosystems and livelihoods of the mountain people, Mr. Molden remarked. He said ICIMOD aims to assist mountain people to understand these changes, adapt to them, and make the most of the new opportunities while addressing upstream-downstream issues.

The Finance Minister said that the government is according due importance to environmental protection and climate change issues and Pakistan will perform its due role at international fora on issues of climate change.

The Finance Minister appreciated the efforts of ICIMOD and desired that the organization should co-ordinate with Ministries concerned for implementation of its projects in Pakistan.

The meeting was attended by Ms. Marvi Memon, Chairperson BISP (Benazir Income Support Program) Mr. Neil Buhne, UN Resident Coordinator and other senior officials of Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs Division, Ministry of National Food Security and BISP.

 
April 18, 2016 (PR No. 1583)

Finance Minister chaired the 15th meeting of Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the 15th meeting of Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms (PCER) at Parliament House.

The Committee was informed that European Union Electoral Follow-up Mission, had submitted its final report, to the Chairman of the PCER, through the EU Ambassador on Saturday, 16th April, 2016.

The Report was introduced in the Committee, which referred it to the Sub-Committee for review and appropriate action.

The meeting took note of the matter regarding removal of Parliamentarians' assets details from Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) website. The Secretary ECP informed the Committee that the Commission had observed that posting of such details was not required by the law. The Members of the Committee unanimously recommended to the ECP that in the interest of transparency the assets details of the parliamentarians be posted back on the website at the earliest. 

The Committee also took note of the difficulties being faced by public due to blocking of their CNICs for various reasons and appointed a Sub-Committee under the Convenership of Mr. Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, MNA to examine all complaints relating to blocked CNICs with a view to ensuring that these are regularized as early as possible. The Sub-Committee would present its report to the main Committee within a month. 

During the meeting 6th report of the sub-committee of PCER after their 55th meeting, was presented by  Mr. Zahid Hamid. The meeting was informed that the draft of the unified electoral law as well as the related rules have been finalized, and currently are under final review. Once passed by the Parliament after due process, the unified election law and the rules will form the Election Manual.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on the occasion thanked all the members for their active participation in the deliberations of the Committee and hoped that they would keep contributing their best for bringing improvement and transparency in the electoral system of the country.

 
April 16, 2016 (PR No. 1582)

EU Envoy presented report of Follow Up Observation Mission to Finance Minister

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar received Mr. Jean-François Cautain ,the European Union (EU) Ambassador for a meeting here on Saturday.

The EU Envoy on the occasion presented to the Finance Minister a report on findings of the EU deployed Electoral Follow Up Observation Mission regarding assessment of the electoral reforms process. The report contains recommendations of the Mission for improving the electoral process in Pakistan.

It  may be added that the EU Electoral Follow up Mission visited Pakistan in February 2016. It was led by Michael Gahler, Member of the EU Parliament who also led the 2008 and 2013 EU Election Observation Missions to Pakistan.

The Finance Minister has accordingly called a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms (PCER) on Monday where he would share the report presented by the EU Mission with members of the Committee as well as the PCER sub-committee for analysis of the recommendations.

 
April 16, 2016 (PR No. 1581)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of the Laws Review Committee

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Saturday chaired a meeting of the Laws Review Committee.

The meeting had detailed discussion on the legislation which would now be placed before the Senate after passage by the National Assembly. Proposals regarding pending legislation in the pipeline were also discussed and finalized.

The meeting discussed and finalized ToRs of the Inquiry Commission being set up in pursuance of the announcement made by the Prime Minister to this effect.

The meeting also short-listed names of professionals for inclusion in the Inquiry Commission.

Minister for Law and Justice, Zahid Hamid, Minister of State for IT, Anusha Rehman Khan, Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law, Barrister Zafarullah Khan and Secretary to Prime Minister, Fawad Hassan Fawad attended the meeting.

 
April 16, 2016 (PR No. 1580)

Claim by Deputy Minister of Panama regarding meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, baseless.....

The spokesman of the Ministry of Finance while referring to electronic media reports on Saturday said that the claim by Deputy Minister of Economy, of Panama, Mr. Ivan Zarak during a CNN interview that he met Pakistan's Finance Minister in Washington, is baseless, unfounded and extremely surprising. 

The spokesman added that Finance Minister had cancelled his visit to Washington D.C. where he was scheduled to participate in the WB/IMF Spring Meetings from 14-17 April, 2016. How could Ivan Zarak meet Finance Minister when the latter has not even left Pakistan in the last many weeks. Finance Minister is very much in Pakistan and performing his day to day duties, which are being covered by the media as well.

Pakistan's Finance Ministry is represented in World Bank/ IMF Spring Meetings, currently in progress, by Federal Finance Secretary, Dr. Waqar Masood Khan due to cancellation of visit by Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar. The matter is being taken up with the CNN for wrong reporting, the spokesman added.

 
April 15, 2016 (PR No. 1579)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting on matters relating to Telecom sector

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a high level meeting on matters relating to Telecom sector with particular focus on frequency spectrum demand here Friday.

The Minister of State for IT, Anusha Rehman Khan briefed the meeting on the spectrum demand scenario and the progress with regard to holding of spectrum auction. 

The meeting reviewed the spectrum demand scenario while considering the Market Assessment report of PTA prepared by international consultant and the evolving data growth due to mobile broadband uptake. In view of reports presented and discussions on Ministry of IT and PTA’s recent engagement with the industry, it was proposed that auction of 850 MHz frequency may precede the auction of 1800 MHz.

The Finance Minister agreed to the proposal and directed that the process may be expedited with complete transparency.  It was also agreed during the meeting that an appropriate amount of spectrum needs to be made available to the industry to enhance the ever evolving requirement of international quality data services for Pakistani consumers.  In this regard all stakeholders including MoIT, PTA and FAB will work together to quickly conclude further procedural measures for making requisite spectrum available through the auction process.

Minister for Law & Justice, Zahid Hamid, Attorney General for Pakistan, Ashter Ausaf,  Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law,  Barrister Zafarullah, members of Spectrum Advisory Committee, and senior officials of Ministry of IT, Ministry of Finance, PTA and FAB also participated in the meeting

 
April 15, 2016 (PR No. 1578)

US Dy Secretary of State telephone called to Finance Minister

US Deputy Secretary of State, Tony Blinken, called the Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar on telephone this evening. Mr. Blinken expressed best wishes for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on behalf of Secretary of State, John Carry and on his own behalf. Finance Minister thanked him and stated that he would convey the sentiments expressed by him and Mr. Kerry to the Prime Minister.

Mr. Blinken expressed that he was looking forward to meeting the Finance Minister on the sidelines of World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington and it was unfortunate that the Minister Dar had to cancel his visit. Finance Minister informed Mr. Blinken that he had to cancel the visit due to Prime Minister's urgent medical visit to the UK and he looked forward to a future opportunity for a meeting.

Mr. Blinken also invited the Finance Minister to visit the US in June 2016 for the Business Opportunities Conference. Finance Minister thanked him for the invitation. Mr. Blinken sought support of the Government of Pakistan, for the Global Connect Initiative, launched by US President Barack Obama last year to complement efforts to achieve global connectivity targets under United Nations General Assembly's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Finance Minister stated that the Government was supportive of the initiative and was already working on extending the internet coverage to all corners of the country.

Mr. Blinken congratulated the Finance Minister on the successes achieved by Pakistan in the Zarb-e-Azb operation. Finance Minister stated that the all the national institutions were committed to take the campaign against terrorism and extremism to its logical conclusion.

United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Olson also called the Finance Minister on phone and expressed his best wishes for the health of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Finance Minister thanked Ambassador Olson for his sentiments, which he said will be conveyed to the Prime Minister.

 
April 15, 2016 (PR No. 1577)

5-member Committee to oversee admin matters of Kidney Hospital

Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here Friday to review the progress of Nawaz Sharif Kidney Hospital, Swat.

The Minister was informed that most of the matters regarding complete operationalization of the hospital have been settled and OPD operation already been started.

The Minister directed for formation of an operationalization committee comprising five members with Secretary EAD as its Chairman to look after the affairs of the hospital. The committee will also look into all the administrative matters till the formal launching of the hospital expected at the end of this month.

The Minister directed senior officials of the PIMS, Islamabad to extend all possible support to the new hospital in terms of making available the specialists and other related matters.

The Minister appreciated services of all those who were contributing their best to complete the hospital project in a transparent manner. The poor and the needy will benefit from the services offered by the hospital, the Minister remarked.

Health Minister KP, Mr. Shahram Khan Tarkai thanked the minister for setting up a significant health project in KP for benefit of the most deserving in remote areas.

 
April 14, 2016 (PR No. 1576)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the progress of work on the Kohsar Block (New Pak Secretariat) project

The Finance Minister here on Thursday chaired a meeting to review the progress of work on the Kohsar Block (New Pak Secretariat) project.

The meeting was informed that Civil Work of main building and 85% external development Works are completed and remaining work is in progress. The meeting was apprised that HVAC and lift work is also being undertaken. Necessary arrangements are afoot for securing power supply to the building, the meeting was informed.

Finance Minister emphasized completion of HVAC work and installation of lifts on priority and said that all systems should be up and ready by close of December 2016. He said the Kohsar Block would help accommodate scattered government offices, departments under one roof, not only facilitating the general public but also helping to make significant savings under the head of building rent.

The Minister also on the occasion directed that Finance Division and Planning & Development Division to extend maximum facilitation for completion of all necessary works.

The 9-storey Kohsar Block with ground floor and two basements, having covered area of 7,69,200 sqft will be the largest office building in the federal capital when completed.

Secretary Housing and Works, DG Pak PWD and senior officials of Planning and Development Division and Finance Ministry attended the meeting.

 
April 13, 2016 (PR No. 1575)

Former Vice Prime Minister of Italy and Deputy Chief of ENI met with Finance Minister

Mr. Lapo Pistelli, former Vice Prime Minister of Italy and current Vice President of ENI, reputed Italian oil and gas company, called on Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here Wednesday. He was accompanied by Italian Ambassador, Stefano Pontecorvo. 

Mr. Lapo Pistelli apprised the Minister about ENI team’s interaction with senior officials of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and Ministry of Water and Power to explore investment opportunities in Pakistan.

Mr. Lapo Pistelli, it may be mentioned, along with members of his delegation had also met Finance Minister on Tuesday. The Minister had formed a group comprising ENI delegation, Ministry of P&NR and Ministry of Water & Power officials to discuss various matters about investment projects. The group held its discussions accordingly and shared its report with the Finance Minister Wednesday.

Mr. Lapo Pistelli said he was pleased to interact with Pakistani officials and found a positive feeling for forging a sound bilateral investment cooperation. He said ENI has keen interest to take up projects in the fields of LNG, Solar power and oil & gas exploration. He said concrete proposals in this regard would be shared with the Pakistan side as early as possible.

Mr. Lapo Pistelli appreciated the support and cooperation he received from the Finance Minister and his team for facilitating his interaction with various high officials in a short time.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that in view of Government’s increased focus on economic growth it was his desire to fully encourage foreign investment in Pakistan which was a major driver of growth. He said he looked forward to enhanced ENI presence in Pakistan in terms of investment in different projects. He assured Mr. Lapo all possible support and cooperation in this regard.

Senior officials of the Ministries of Finance, Petroleum & Natural Resources and Water & Power attended the meeting.

 
April 12, 2016 (PR No. 1574)

Finance Minister's visit to Washington cancelled

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar held a meeting with senior officials of the Finance and Economic Affairs Divisions here Tuesday.

Preparations for the upcoming World Bank/IMF Spring meetings scheduled to be held at Washington from 14-17 April 2016 were reviewed on the occasion. The Finance Minister expressed satisfaction on the preparation for effective participation of Pakistan delegation in the meetings.

Finance Minister stated that in view of Prime Minister’s program to proceed to United Kingdom for medical check up, he has decided not to proceed to Washington to attend the Spring meetings and the delegation comprising   Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Secretary Finance and Secretary Economic Affairs Division will represent the country in these meetings.

Finance Minister has conveyed regrets for cancellation of his visit and bilateral meetings with the dignitaries he was scheduled to meet in Washington.

 
April 12, 2016 (PR No. 1573)

Vice President of Italian oil and gas company ENI called on Finance Minister

Mr. Lapo Pistelli, Vice President ENI, reputed Italian multinational oil and gas company called on Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here Tuesday. Italian Ambassador H.E Stefano Pontecorvo accompanied Mr. Lapo Pistelli on the occasion.

They had discussion with Finance Minister on matters relating to investment in Pakistan. 

Minister Dar gave a brief overview of the economy to the visiting delegation and said Pakistan was now fully focused on the path to economic growth where investment had a major contribution to make. He apprised the Deputy Head of ENI about the investment plans of Chinese, Saudi and Qatar companies and said Italian investors were welcome to explore and avail business opportunities in Pakistan in various fields including the energy sector. He said the government offered a liberal investment regime and fully encouraged foreign investors to make investment in Pakistan.   

ENI Vice President on the occasion said that the company engages in oil and natural gas exploration, field development and production, as well as in the supply, trading and shipping of natural gas, LNG, electricity, fuels and chemical products. He briefed the Finance Minister about the various projects undertaken by ENI and evinced keen interest in business and investment opportunities in Pakistan.

The Finance Minister said all foreign investors would be fully facilitated in undertaking investment activities in Pakistan. 

Senior officials of the Finance Division, Economic Affairs Division and Water and Power attended the meeting.

 
April 11, 2016 (PR No. 1572)

Finance Minister held a meeting with delegation of FPCCI at the FBR headquarters

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Monday held a meeting with delegation of FPCCI at the FBR headquarters.

The FPCCI delegation gave a detailed briefing on their tax proposals for Budget 2016-17. The Finance Minister said that the PML(N) government will continue its tradition of consulting the stakeholders before making important decision. He said that proposals given by representatives of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, business community, traders bodies and other stake holders would be accorded due consideration. The meeting also had a review of the mechanism for tax refunds on the occasion.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stated that government is highly appreciative of the contribution of traders and business community towards strengthening of national economy. They should keep playing their due role in revenue generation and promotion of tax culture, he added. The Minister said that with continued efforts rate of revenue growth has risen to 19.7% under the present government while it ranged between 2.5 to 3.0% before it assumed responsibilities. Government shall keep up its efforts for consolidation of the economic gains it has made and focus on economic growth, he said.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Division, Haroon Akhtar, senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and FBR attended the meeting.

 
April 11, 2016 (PR No. 1571)

Delegation of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) held a meeting with Finance Minister

A delegation of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) led by Sheikh Abdulaziz Bin Ali Thani, Acting Head of Business Development Department of QIA held a meeting with Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here Monday.

Finance Minister briefed the delegation about investment opportunities in Pakistan and shared with them details of various options that the QIA could follow to forge cooperation with GoP for undertaking investment. These included establishment of Pak-Qatar Investment Company, participation by QIA in Pakistan Infrastructure Development Fund, as well as undertaking projects independently in other sectors. The Minister said that Pakistan has recently entered into an agreement with Qatar for import of LNG. He also mentioned about the 3600 MW LNG based projects where General Electric is supplying necessary equipment. The Minister also added that Saudi investors have plans in taking up projects in the field of petrochemicals and oil refineries. 

The Minister said there were good opportunities for QIA to come to the fore and have its share of investment.

Leader of the Qatar delegation Sheikh Abdulaziz Bin Ali Thani said QIA would consider the different options available for making investment in Pakistan. He said the brotherly ties between Pakistan and Qatar serve as a good foundation for developing such cooperation. He thanked the Minister for welcoming the delegation.

 
April 11, 2016 (PR No. 1570)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of ECC

The ECC of the Cabinet in its meeting chaired by Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Monday considered and approved five different proposals relating to the energy sector.

The ECC considered the proposal for Implementation of North South Gas Pipeline Project under Government to Government Agreement with Russia and approved it. ECC also constituted a price negotiation committee consisting of Secretary P&NR, Secretary Law, Secretary BoI, Representative of Finance Division, MD SNGPL and MD ISGS to negotiate the project details and pricing with the Russian side. The

ECC also considered the proposal on Re-structuring of Gwadar-Nawabshah LNG Terminal and Pipeline Project and approved implementation of the project on BOOT basis. The ECC also directed the Ministry of P&NR to complete all codal formalities and directed that it must be ensured that the revised strategy does not result in any cost escalation. It was further decided that Secretary P&NR will chair the Price Negotiation Committee, while Secretary Law, Secretary BoI, representative of Finance Division, MD SNGPL and MD ISGS shall be members of the Committee.

The ECC had detailed discussion on proposal submitted by the Ministry of Water & Power and accorded approval of issuance of Sovereign guarantee by Ministry of Finance in respect of syndicated term finance facility amounting to Rs. 25.00 billion for the power sector.

The ECC considered the proposal of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources on LPG Air Mixture Projects and decided that in view of CCI approval accorded on 29th February regarding LPG Policy 2016, any further approval from ECC was not required in the matter. Now it was up to OGRA to implement the approved Policy in letter and spirit.

On another proposal submitted by the Ministry of Water & Power ECC accorded approval for non-cash settlement of Rs. 70.167 billion in respect of power sector payables/receivables among various government entities.

 
April 09, 2016 (PR No. 1569)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting with FBR to review progress of withdrawal of concessionary SROs/Tax exemptions

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar here Saturday held a meeting with senior officials of FBR to review progress of withdrawal of concessionary SROs/Tax exemptions.

Chairman FBR briefed the meeting about the third and final phasing out plan for withdrawal of concessionary regime under the head of Income Tax. Earlier last month a meeting held at FBR had discussed the phasing out plan in respect of Sales Tax, Federal Excise Duty and Customs. 

The meeting Saturday morning was informed that in fiscal year 2014-15 Rs. 105 billion worth of SROs and exemptions were withdrawn while in 2015-16 this amount stood at Rs. 120 billion. The third and final phase would be implemented in the FY 2016-17.Finance Minister appreciated FBR’s efforts for roll back of concessionary SROs and exemptions as envisaged by the present Government in 2013.

The Minister while appreciating the steps taken for revenue generation in the first nine months called upon FBR officials to keep up the good efforts for even better results during the last quarter to meet the target set for FY 2015-16.

 
April 09, 2016 (PR No. 1568)

Preparations for participation in World Bank/IMF spring meetings reviewed

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Saturday chaired a briefing session to review preparations for participation of Pakistan’s delegation in the World Bank/IMF spring meetings being held in Washington from 15-17 April 2016.

Secretary EAD on the occasion gave a detailed presentation about the various meetings, seminars and dialogues being organized during the annual event, which is attended by Finance Ministers, Central Bank heads, and top officials of finance & economy related departments, from around the world. Schedule of Finance Minister’s engagements during his stay at Washington was also reviewed and finalized.

During the visit Finance Minister will also represent Pakistan at the Global Connect Initiative (GCI) event, which is being co-hosted by President WB and US Secretary of State. He will also visit the Woodrow Wilson Center for a talk on the growth strategy of Pakistan.

The Minister will meet senior US leadership, Finance Ministers of other countries as well as heads of important international organizations on the sidelines of the World Bank/IMF meetings in Washington. Senior officials of Finance Division and EAD attended the meeting.

 
April 06, 2016 (PR No. 1567)

Finance Minister held a meeting with Country Director World Bank

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Wednesday held a  meeting with Country Director World Bank,  Pochumuthu Illangovan  and other senior World Bank officials to review progress of World Bank supported Development Policy Credit for Equitable Growth besides having discussion on current portfolio of World Bank projects in the country.  

Finance Minister said that the government highly appreciated the contribution of the World Bank for various development projects and added that the recent visit by the World Bank President to Pakistan had helped renew the spirit to foster Pak-World Bank cooperation. He said Pakistan is stepping up to a higher level of growth and better opportunities for its people for economic prosperity as envisioned by the leadership. He said the Government after having achieved macroeconomic stability is actively pursuing economic growth and employment generation.  

The Minister added that he looked forward to attending the World Bank-IMF Spring meetings in Washington where he would have detailed exchange of views with the senior World Bank officials on financing for future programmes for Pakistan.

Mr. Pochumuthu Illangovan said the World Bank would continue to finance different projects in Pakistan and that he looked forward to further strengthening Pak-World Bank cooperation in future.

Senior officials of Finance Division and Economic Affairs Division were also present.

 
April 05, 2016 (PR No. 1566)

FBR collects Rs. 2103 Billion to register 19.7% revenue growth

Federal Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar held a meeting here on Tuesday to review performance of Revenue Division/FBR and Finance Division in the first nine months of the current fiscal year.

Mr. Haroon Akhter Khan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Division and Secretaries of the Finance and Revenue Divisions were present during the meeting.

The meeting noted that Federal Board of Revenue has continued to display exceptional performance in the third quarter as well and has clocked an unprecedented revenue collection of over 2103 billion for the first nine months of fiscal year by recording an increase of around 19.7% of the revenue collected during the corresponding period of last fiscal year.

Chairman FBR, Nisar Muhammad Khan informed that impressive growth in revenue has been achieved despite a massive decrease in fuel prices, persistent recessionary trends in global economy, drop in commodity prices and low inflation. The 19.7% revenue growth also reflects a qualitative improvement as for the first time in many years, revenue targets have not been revised downward throughout this fiscal year and so far the revenue generation remains steady and in some areas better than initial projections.

During the quarter ending March, 2016, according to the provisional figures received so far, FBR has made a net collection of around Rs.718 billion as against Rs.588 billion collected during third quarter of 2014-15, showing an increase of 22.1%. The revenue collection trend during the first nine months of the financial year, the meeting noted, augurs well for the efforts of FBR towards achievement of the annual assigned revenue targets.

Details of Revenue collection FY 2015-16 (up to March ):Rs. in Billion

HEAD

2014-15

2015-16

GROWTH %

First Quarter

538

600

11.6%

Second Quarter

627

785

23.8%

Third Quarter

588

718

22.1%

Total of three quarters

1,753

2,103

19.7%

Finance Minister commended efforts of SAPM on Revenue, Mr. Haroon Akhtar Khan, Chairman Nisar Mohammad Khan and his whole team for impressive revenue collection. He expressed the hope that FBR shall keep up its good performance in the last quarter.

Secretary Finance Division, Dr. Waqar Masood Khan informed that targets for Net International Reserves, Net Domestic Assets and SWAP were achieved for the third quarter and performance criteria for the quarter has been achieved. As regards other economic targets, the data for the same is being compiled, he added. Finance Minister directed that the exercise in this regard should be completed within a week.

 
April 04, 2016 (PR No. 1565)

Delegation of Turkish Court of Accounts (TCA) called on Finance Minister

A delegation from the Turkish Court of Accounts (TCA) comprising senior officers headed by Deputy President -TCA, Mr. Orhan Yasa, called on Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Finance Minister, here Monday.

Rana Asad Amin-Auditor General of Pakistan was also present.

Mr. Muhammad Ishaq Dar, while talking to the visiting delegates, stated that Pakistan has always attached great importance to its relations with Turkey. Pakistan and Turkey are brotherly Islamic Countries and have always enjoyed cordial relations, the Finance Minister added.

The Finance Minister observed that owing to the similar nature of functions and responsibilities and being potential regional partners, the Auditor General of Pakistan and Turkish court of Accounts should establish close liaison and support each other on all international fora. Mr. Ishaq Dar praised the initiative of the Turkish government to arrange a study visit for the senior management of the SAI Turkey. The Minister was of the view that such visits may enhance the level of technical and professional cooperation of the respective SAIs.

Mr. Muhammad Ishaq Dar, while drawing parallels between the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) of both Pakistan and Turkey, said the both the SAIs are apex institutions viz-a-viz public accountability and transparency, and derive their independence and strength from their respective constitutions. Both the SAIs provide timely and reliable feedback to improve governance & strengthen accountability and act as a partner in achieving Good Governance in their own countries, he added.

The Finance minister opined that both SAI Pakistan and SAI Turkey are the members of International Organization like INTOSAL, ASOSAI and ECOSAI and can benefit each other through mutual exchange of professional knowledge & experience, besides, cooperation in multilateral international bodies, bilateral relations at the SAI level can help both the countries translate common challenges faced by them into opportunities, he added.

Mr. Orhan Yasa on the occasion said that visit to Pakistan was a great learning experience for the member of his delegation in the spheres of accounts and audit. The quality of work they had witnessed in AGP office was impressive. Such study tours should be held frequently, he said.

 
April 04, 2016 (PR No. 1564)

Delegation of National Management College called on the Finance Minister

A delegation of National Management College called on the Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Tuesday. The delegation included Rector NSPP, Ismail Qureshi, members of NMC faculty and Participants of the 104th National Management Course.

Speaking on the occasion, the Finance Minister said the government having successfully attained macro-economic economic stability and re-engagement of international financing institutions was now firmly pursuing the goal of economic growth and employment generation.

The Minister said apart from due focus on economy, the government had also paid full attention to development of energy sector to alleviate the problem of energy shortage in the country. It has given due focus also on  anti-terrorism operation to ensure a peaceful and secure environment which is key to ensure economic progress.

Ishaq Dar also mentioned about government's efforts for strengthening the social security network. He said all the macro-economic indicators were positive, forex reserves stood at over 20 billion dollars, inflation rate was under 3%, there was 18% growth in revenue generation during the current fiscal year and it was all set to achieve the revenue target set for 2015-16.  He said the government was determined to achieve 6 to 7 percent growth rate within its tenure.

The Minister on this occasion also stated that the government had made payments for the US$500 million Eurobond which was actually issued in 2006 in Musharraf era. Country’s external debt thus also stands reduced by US $ 500 million Eurobond. He also briefly touched upon country’s debt profile and said some vested interests were maligning public opinion against the government by portraying a fabricated picture of the debt situation. 

The Minister wished all the participants success in the training course and said they had an important role to play in the country's economic development and social uplift.

Earlier, Special Secretary Finance, Dr. Shujaat, Economic Advisor S. Ejaz Wasti and Director General, Economic Reforms Unit, Dr. Khaqan Hasan Najeeb gave presentations to the visiting delegation about the working of the Ministry of Finance and budget making process.

Senior officials of the Finance Division also attended the meeting.

 
April 04, 2016 (PR No. 1563)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting of ECC

The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) in its meeting chaired by the Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Monday considered and approved various proposals submitted by Ministries/ Divisions.

ECC considered and approved proposal of Ministry of National Food Security and Research for public sector procurement of wheat crop 2015-16.  It was decided that 7.05 million tons of wheat will be procured by all the four provinces and PASSCO till 31st of August 2016.

ECC approved Ministry of Water and Power’s proposal regarding  provision of  GoP guarantee to open second Letter of Credit for setting up two 1000-1200 MW projects at Haveli Bahadur Shah, distt Jhang and Balloki, distt Kasur.   

The ECC on a proposal from the Federal Board of Revenue accorded approval to extend the period for reduced withholding tax rate of 0.4% on banking transactions by non-filers till 30th April 2016.   

On a proposal of Ministry of Petroleum, the ECC approved allocation of 100 MMCFD gas to the Govt. of KP for use in power generation, either at its own or through partnership with the private sector. The proposal was based on the MOU recently signed between the Federal Government and the Provincial Government.

On a proposal submitted by the Ministry of Water & Power regarding executing the Power Purchase Agreement by CPPA-G pertaining to imported RLNG based power projects, the ECC accorded approval to authorize CPPA to develop and execute the PPA for the three RLNG based power projects in the Public Sector.

The ECC considered and approved a proposal submitted by the Ministry of Water and Power regarding extension in grace period by Bank Alfalah under term finance facility from two years to four years in respect of Power Holding (Pvt) Limited. Consequently tenure of the facility shall stand extended up to seven years.

ECC considered and approved proposal from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources regarding extension in certain deadlines under Policy Framework for Up-gradation and Expansion of Refinery Projects.

 
April 01, 2016 (PR No. 1562)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review performance of SUPARCO

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Friday chaired a meeting to review overall working and performance of Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO).

DG SPD, Lt. General Mazhar Jamil briefed the Finance Minister about role of SUPARCO and the services provided by the organization to other public and private institutions for various scientific and socio-economic development purposes.

Chairman Suparco,  Major General Qaiser Anees Khurram gave a detailed briefing on the ongoing and future projects and programmes of SUPARCO. The meeting was informed about the research projects undertaken by SUPARCO and the studies it has conducted based on the applications of Satellite Remote Sensing (SRS) data and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology besides the work done for natural resources surveying, mapping and environmental monitoring.  The meeting was  also apprised that SUPARCO has undertaken research studies in space and atmospheric sciences including satellite meteorology, satellite radiance, troposphere/stratosphere studies, atmospheric pollution, and astronomy. Besides conducting R&D work the organisation has a strong element of international cooperation in its space development programme. It enjoys the permanent membership of several International Organizations, Institutes, Scientific Committees, United Nations Bodies etc. for cooperation in scientific and technical information, provision of data, training, collaborative studies and joint organisation of conferences& seminars etc. 

Financial requirements of various future projects of SUPRACO were also discussed in detail.

Finance Minister, Senator Ishaq Dar appreciated SUPARCO for its splendid work in space and upper atmosphere research. He said the government would extend all possible support for the organisation's development programmes.  

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, SPD and SUPARCO attended the meeting. 

 
April 01, 2016 (PR No. 1561)

Defamation suits filed against CEO, Anchorperson of ARY

A spokesman for the Finance Minister, Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar said here Friday that the Minister has filed defamation suits against Mr. Salman Iqbal, CEO ARY Communications and Dr. Shahid Masood, Anchorperson ARY news channel and demanded payment of damages and public apology for damages on account of defamatory telecasts.

The suits, the spokesman added,  have been filed in the Court of District Judge, Islamabad, West, under the Defamation Ordinance 2002, for libelous, slanderous and defamatory statements made against the Finance Minister in ARY TV's show 'Live with Shahid Masood' on 20 February, 2016.

The spokesman further said that the Finance Minister has sought a decree against Salman Iqbal and Shahid Masood for payment of Rs 1 billion each, as the damages on account of the defamatory telecasts and publications.

It may be recalled that the Finance Minister had served legal notices on the two individuals more than two weeks ago, seeking their apology for the defamation. However, they did not make amends or furnish reply to the notices, leading to filing of the two separate suits in the Court.

 
 
 
 

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