- Pak ready for 6th IMF review in late January as finance minister speaks of progress on key indicators
Addressing a press conference Monday, Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar has said that foreign exchange reserves of the country have crossed $ 15 billion while all economic indicators are positive as a result of prudent policies of the government.
The minister said that the government is committed to achieve all the economic targets. “The International Monetary Fund has completed five reviews on Pakistan’s economy and we are ready for the sixth review expected to be held in the last week of this month.”
The senator said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected 4.3 percent GDP growth for the country but it is the government’s utmost effort to achieve the target of 5.1, despite the setbacks caused by flash floods and expenditures on the war on terrorism.
The finance minister said GST on oil products has been increased from 17 percent to 22 percent to arrest revenue shortfall because of reduction in oil prices in global market. He said there is a revenue loss of $ 68 billion and the government will recover Rs 17.5 billion till June 30 due to increase in GST on petroleum products.
Dar said in the first six months of current financial year, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has collected revenue of Rs 1,162.4 billion as against Rs 1031.4 billion during the same period last year showing increase of 13 percent.
The finance minister said the budget deficit remained 2.4 percent in the first six months of current fiscal year against the target of 4.9 percent. He, however said, the government will have to face extraordinary expenditures due to the implementation of national action plan on terrorism as well as the rehabilitation of temporary displaced persons (TDP). He assured all possible resources will be provided for the honourable return of the displaced families to their homes.
He said home remittances have increased to $ 8.978 billion in the last six months, an increase of 15.25 percent. He said imports of the country have increased from $21.671 billion to $24.203 billion in the first six months of the current financial year. These showed an increase of 11.68 percent where as exports were lowered by 4.31 percent as compared to corresponding period of last year.
He said inflation was 8.9 percent in July-December period last year which has decreased to 6.1 percent in the same period this year. He said 1,723 new companies have been registered during the initial five months of this financial year whereas 1,534 companies were registered during the same period last year. He said this shows an increase of 12.3 percent.
Responding to a question, the Finance Minister said progress has been made to a great deal for the establishment of judicial commission to probe into alleged rigging in 2013 general elections. He said the government has accommodated many of the demands of the Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaaf and now the onus is on the other side to show openness and positive magnanimity for the solution of pending issues. He said it is our utmost effort to end the standoff at the earliest.