Islamabad: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that due to viable economic reforms‚ the country is heading towards economic revival and stability. Making a policy statement in the National Assembly on Thursday‚ he said that due to these policies‚ average GDP growth in the first quarter of the current fiscal year has risen to five percent as compared to two point nine percent in the same period last year.
He said the government is committed to bring the GDP ratio up to six percent during the next four years. By the grace of God Almighty two third target of the GDP has been achieved in the current fiscal year.
Ishaq Dar said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made a commitment in the election manifesto that budget deficit will be brought down to four percent during the next five years.
He said due to prudent economic policies‚ the government has been successful to bring down this rate from eight point eight percent to eight percent.
He said it is hoped that budget deficit will further decrease by the end of this fiscal year and the targets will be achieved which will help ensure bring stability in the economy.
He said this target has been achieved despite hurdles like payment of huge amount of circular debts and loans while the government successfully was able to save over 135 billion rupees that is a record.
The Finance Minister said that the government has paid 503 billion rupees of circular debt. He said due to non-payment of this amount‚ there was daily load shedding of sixteen to eighteen hours in the country during in the last months of the previous government.
Giving details about payment of the circular debt‚ the Minister said 348 billion rupees were paid in the first phase by issuing 128 billion rupees worth of Pakistan Investment Bonds‚ cutting and saving expenditure worth 135 billion rupees‚ 20 billion rupee dividends from public sector enterprises and 59 billion rupees of cash paid out of Federal Consolidated Fund.
He said the remaining 138 billion rupees were paid in July by recovering government loans from different organizations.
Ishaq Dar said the country was also paying 14% interest on the circular debt and by retiring the debt‚ we would be saving 55 billion rupees annually just on account of interest.
He said the retiring of circular debt also enabled addition of 1700 MW of electricity to the national grid and as a result the industrial growth surged to 7 percent in the first quarter of the current financial year.
The Finance Minister said that the government took a number of austerity measures to reduce burden on the national exchequer. He said the Prime Minister’s discretionary fund has been reduced zero. He said the functioning of foreign missions has been thoroughly reviewed and it will save two billion rupees by curtailing different expenditures.
He said seventeen percent new companies have been registered during the last five months which shows the interest of the business community in the government. He said similarly‚ the stock exchange growth has also increased by 27 percent.
The Minister said that presently the foreign exchange reserves situation is not satisfactory but due to the government’s measures during the next three years it will improve and reach 20 billion dollars.
Clarifying different statements regarding printing of notes‚ Ishaq Dar said that during the last five months 672 billion rupees new notes have been printed while 466 billion rupees notes have been deposited. He said in this way the total new circulation is of 206 billion rupees.