Dar receives budgetary proposals from industrialists, assures support
The finance minister says his economic team is ‘doing its best to cope with economic challenges
ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) - An Islamabad Industrial Association (IIA)'s delegation held virtual meeting with Finance and Revenue Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Friday and submitted budget proposals for the fiscal year 2023-24.
The delegation led by IIA president Mohammad Ahmad thanked the finance minister for inviting the budgetary proposals from the business community and discussed the current economic situation of the country with the finance minister and informed him about the issues being faced by them particularly related to taxation.
Dar vowed to turnaround the national economy by overcoming the confronted challenges with collective efforts.
“Currently, Pakistan is passing through a challenge and we have to come out of this together . . . We have good intention to turnaround it again,” he said while talking to a delegation of the Islamabad Industrial Association during a meeting telecast live.
He recalled that in 2017 Pakistan’s economy was in the take-off position after becoming the world’s 24th economy with a 6.25 per cent interest rate, 2 per cent food inflation, 4 per cent general inflation, the best stock market in South Asia and 5th best in the world, more than $100 billion market capitalization.
“Now, it all looks like a dream…whatever we gained during 2013-17 has been lost due to failed economic policies of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government.”
The minister said his economic team was ‘doing its best,’ and now things had started moving in the right direction despite the confronted challenges.
He said the prices of a number of edibles including oil had come down; adding the rate of petroleum products had been brought down significantly during the last two fortnights consecutively. “The per liter diesel price has come down by Rs35, petrol Rs20, light diesel Rs17 and kerosene oil Rs12.”
Sharing positive indicators of the improving economy, Ishaq Dar said the Rupee value against the US Dollar in the open market had significantly improved, which had been expanded by Rs27-28 as compared to Rupee-Dollar price in the interbank trading. “It is the result of a bold step taken a few days back by our team.
On Wednesday, according to the Forex Association of Pakistan (FAP), the buying and selling rates of dollars in the open market stood at Rs311 and Rs314, respectively, which on Thursday came down to Rs 290 and Rs 293.
He said uncertainty and political instability created difficulties in uplifting the national economy, adding there was an undue delay in the 9th review of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) despite that Pakistan had provided “all the required things formalities and as per my calculation, the external financing gap is also in order.”
Ishaq Dar hoped that it (the IMF’s 9th review) would be done by the current month.
In 2013, the minister said, Pakistan was predicted to be a macroeconomic unstable country and default in six-seven months, but the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government not only steered the country out of that position but also improved all economic indicators.
Now again, he said, the incumbent government had faced a similar challenge when it came into power last year, adding “There is no need to worry. I have strong faith and belief that Pakistan has a future. It has great resilience and will come out of this crisis. We just need collective efforts.”
He said a strong feature of the system and economy was the ‘resilience,’ adding Pakistan was a solvent state. “If we have a debt, by the grace of Allah Almighty we have assets of $2000-3000 trillion.”
He said today the value of alone gas infrastructure asset was around $42 billion, besides several others like airports, motorways and mineral resources. “I have a strong faith that Pakistan has to take off. We have to get back the 2017 position . . . “ The minister said Pakistan would fulfill its sovereign commitment within the scheduled time and bring back the fast-moving economic wheel.
SAPM on Finance Tariq Bajwa, SAPM on Revenue Tariq Mehmood Pasha, Chairman RRMC Ashfaq Yousif Tola, chairman FBR, and senior officers from the FBR attended the meeting.
Additional input from APP