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Daily Times

Published Date: Mar 30, 2016

Dar claims improvement in economic indicators

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that most macroeconomic indicators had shown remarkable improvement during the last two and a half years.
He stated this while chairing the 7th meeting of the Economic Advisory Council (EAD) held on Tuesday. At the outset of the meeting, Ishaq Dar welcomed all participants and gave a brief overview of recent positive developments on the economic front. Referring to the latest figures on GDP growth, revenue collection, fiscal deficit, PSDP, social protection, inflation, remittance, foreign exchange reserves, he said that all of these indicators had markedly improved as compared to the pre-2013 period. Having achieved economic stabilisation, the government was now fully focused on inclusive economic growth and was aiming at achieving a GDP growth rate of over five percent in FY 2015-16, he stated. The minister also asked the members of the EAC to provide guidance to the government for further improving economic management.
During the meeting, the finance secretary gave a detailed presentation to the committee on the economic progress. He also briefed the meeting on the debt situation and informed that the cost and risk profile has considerably improved during the last two and a half years. The FBR chairman informed the meeting the bureau was on track to achieve the revenue target of Rs 3,104 billion set for 2015-16. He said the government would continue the policy of eliminating concessionary SROs in the next budget.
Leading the proceedings, convener Dr Ishrat Husain spoke at length on the economic turnaround witnessed by the country over the last two and a half years as a result of the successful implementation of the economic revival agenda of the government. He acknowledged the efforts of the finance minister and the entire economic team for the “remarkable” achievement in a difficult environment. He emphasised the need for strengthening the tax administration and removing the contact between taxpayer and tax collector. He also highlighted the importance of federal and provincial fiscal coordination. He suggested that the government should look into setting up a long-term infrastructure-financing fund.
Other EAC members including Abid Hasan, Razzaq Dawood, Zuberi, Dr Sania Nishtar, Abid Qayyum Sulehri, Syed Akbar Zaidi, Farrukh Qayyum and Qazi Asmat Isa acknowledged the commendable progress made by the government in revitalising the economy. There was a consensus on capitalising on the economic gains made so far by Pakistan to embark on a sustainably higher growth path. The efforts made for the re-profiling of the domestic debt away from short-term maturity were greatly appreciated by the members. The members also acknowledged the vital role of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as an impetus of growth through employment creation and development, especially in the less developed regions of the country.
The meeting highlighted that exports can be increased through proper implementation of the recently announced Strategic Trade Policy Framework. The EAC members gave suggestions related to the potential role of federal equalisation grants for removing regional disparities. The participants also underscored the need for the dissemination of information of the improved economic situation and stated that many achievements of the government are not fully acknowledged by the public due to lack of information. The meeting stresses need for augmenting government’s efforts to expand tax net. Endorsing its economic revival agenda, the members of EAC expressed their full support in dissemination of the gains made so far.