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Economy in a healthy state, Ishaq Dar tells NA

16 May, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: Painting a rosy picture of the national economy due to what he termed were prudent policies of the PML-N government Finance Minister Ishaq Dar claimed on Thursday that the growth-inflation equation has been reversed, with economic growth showing constant increase and inflation decreasing steadily.

The finance minister said that the situation today is completely opposite to what it was when his government took over last year when inflation was rising and growth falling. Dar was speaking before the National Assembly which saw heavy attendance due to the presence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after some time.

The prime minister keenly listened to the speech of his finance minister who briefed the House about the health of the national economy. He occasionally resorted to desk-thumping over the economic achievements of his government.

Speaking in detail about the numerous economic indictors that he believed showed an upward trend so far this fiscal year, Dar laid extra emphasis on the rupee-dollar parity and said the Pakistani currency is in the comfort zone. "I have directed that the baseline for the next budget targets should be at Rs 99 per dollar," the finance minister told the House.

Recalling what he termed was much-hyped criticism over the rising value of the dollar some months back, he said that reduction in its value is not being digested by the hoarders, black marketers as well as those who announced to quit the politics if the dollar fell lower than 100 rupees, an apparent reference to Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed who made the announcement to resign from his assembly membership if dollar came down to Rs 92.

However, the finance minister said that all should cheer this "economic revival", as no one has a monopoly over it. He said that because of the good economic health of the country the prime minister is welcome in any country he visits.

Dar also took to task what he dubbed "pseudo intellectuals" for giving distorted figures, especially on public debt, and said that they are feeling discomfort over this "economic recovery".

Recounting the achievements of the present government, Dar stated that the GDP growth rate would settle over four percent by the end of this fiscal and would be five percent and six percent in the coming two years.

FBR revenue, he said, had jumped to Rs 1,745 billion in ten months of the current fiscal year, up from Rs 1,509 billion in the corresponding months of the last year. He said the budget deficit is within the limit of budgetary projections and stands at four percent at present.

The finance minister said remittances have been Rs 12.89 billion in the first ten months of this fiscal year, rising by 11.4 percent compared to Rs 11.57 billion of the last year.

Exports registered 16 percent growth versus imports, which increase just 0.58 percent, that reduced the trade deficit, Dar pointed out. Foreign exchange reserves, he said, stood at $13 billion and would be $15 billion by the end of September after revising the early target month of December this year. "But I hope $15 billion target would be achieved by July this year," Dar said.


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