‘Despite sensitive relations, US assistance to Pakistan stable’

Finance minister stresses on sustainable growth for the nation.


Express December 03, 2011

KARACHI:


Terming present Pak- US relations as sensitive, Federal Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said there has been no change in US economic assistance of $500 million, and said that economic indicators were also depicting a stable trend in Pakistan.


He was speaking during a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Saturday.

However, he said that Pakistan does not believe in external economic assistance because it is not sustainable. “We want to increase trade and investment with the world which is the only sustainable way to economic progress,” he added. He said that government now wants to do two things: first is to continue the present economic stability and then to increase tax collection that is necessary for the country.

Shaikh said that he was confident that Pakistan will catch its annual tax collection target of Rs1,952 billion because the country has collected Rs640 billion in first five months (July-November), which is 28% more than the last fiscal year.

Highlighting the importance of reforms in the power sector, he said that government has poured in over Rs1,000 billion into the power sector in the last four years to reduce losses and increase efficiency of the system.

“Looking at the acute load-shedding in Pakistan, the government wants to bring reforms in power sector and it is expected that load-shedding will gradually reduce in coming years,” he added.

“Government also needs to complete power sector projects in time to increase the pace of reforms in power sector,” he said.

On the much-criticised slow reforms in state enterprises of Pakistan, Shaikh said government is committed to do public private partnerships (PPP) in state enterprises to improve corporate governance in Pakistan Steel Mills, PIA, Pakistan Railways and other institutions.

“State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is independently making its decisions, especially related to the monetary policy, and as finance minister, I do not interfere in its decisions,” Shaikh said.

Shaikh said that Pakistan is going through a transitional phase that is slow but it is necessary for the stable future of the country. “Pakistan has seen toughest times in last four years on political and economical fronts but all these challenges have made us strong. The perseverance that Pakistanis have shown over the last few decades is our asset,” Shaikh said.

“You see, no institution in Pakistan today is so strong that it can dictate it terms to other institutions. All major institutions have asserted themselves like judiciary and media that have made a strong balance among institutions which is necessary for smooth transition of Pakistan,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2011. 

COMMENTS (3)

Khan | 11 years ago | Reply

It doesnt matter, Mr Shaikh, if you have poured in Rs. 1,000 billion or more in energy sector. No one in the government or army is paying their electricity bills. Start paying your bills.

Abdur Rehman | 11 years ago | Reply

You get money from US, then talk about your sovereignty. No wonder why you, inspite of being a nuclear power, can not stop brazen drone attacks and unprovoked strikes on your outposts which kill your soldiers and civilians.

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