ISLAMABAD: Pakistan had been hurt by terrorism and security challenges but was still managing to focus on growth and job creation, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told CNBC news channel.
“Pakistan’s economy has shown great resilience against the trend in developing countries and emerging markets which have shown negative growth,” said Dar, who was in Frankfurt heading a Pakistani delegation at the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“We achieved a seven-year high growth in the last fiscal year and in the current year we hope to cross 5%. We are aiming to touch 7% in the next two fiscal years,” he said.
“We faced serious challenges apart from macro-economic stability, which is now in order; of these was security and extremism and in June 2014, we took a bold decision to go for an all-out war against terrorism and it’s fairly costly.”
Almost $2.3 billion was expected to be spent on the ongoing operation against the militants.
“I called the challenges faced at the time of general elections in 2013 three major Es – extremism, economy and energy. We’ve had great success so far in achieving macro-economic stability and are now working on growth trajectory and job creation,” Dar said.
In a bid to help stabilise Pakistan’s economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had approved a $6.2 billion loan facility in 2013 under a three-year programme. By March this year, it has released around $5.5 billion.
Following the last review of Pakistan’s economic performance, the IMF concluded that the country was reaching its fiscal targets and economic activity had continued to gradually gain strength.
In order to build on these gains, further progress, including structural reforms, was needed to achieve a strong and inclusive growth and make the economy more resilient and competitive, it said.
While participating in a seminar on “Asia-Europe Economic Cooperation: Fostering Greater Trade and Investment,” Dar asked Europe and Asia to review their existing arrangements and open up markets by dismantling tariff and non-tariff barriers.
On infrastructure financing, he said multilateral development banks must come up with new instruments including bonds to bridge the gap. He also spoke about intellectual property rights and the expanding e-commerce.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2016.