Published Date: May 15, 2014
Economy in a comfort zone: Dar
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Wednesday that the economy of the country is taking off and is now in a comfort zone as far as its foreign
exchange reserves are concerned. “With the oversubscription of the Eurobond, successful auction for 3G and 4G spectrum and improved economic indicators, the international confidence in Pakistan has increased to a level where we can build stronger economic base,” the Finance Minister said while chairing a meeting of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) here.
The meeting discussed various proposals presented by five different sub-groups. The Finance Minister briefed the Economic Advisory
Council (EAC) on recently completed third successful review by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and on the latest economic indicators.
The industry and trade sub-group was represented by A Razak Dawood and discussed in details the proposals for the diversification of the export
base by promoting value-added exports like engineering, IT, chemicals and food processing. The group further recommended deregulation of the economy by creating a level playing field to allow new entrants in the local manufacturing field as compared to the imported finished products.
The group further discussed the proposal for simplifying the tariff structure and moving away from the import substitution to export-led growth along with maintaining the transparency, consistency and simplicity of tariff structure. The sub-group on resource mobilisation and expenditure management convened by Dr Miftah Ismail proposed that the tariff rationalisation process needs to be expedited to provide a level playing field to businesses.
The sub-group further proposed that an automation process at the
FBR may be improved by developing an integrated IT system to improve service delivery and enhance transparency. On the expenditure management
side, the sub-group also suggested formation of a task force to analyse
overall expenditure management in the federal government including throw forward in the capital budget and make suggestions for the improvement and elaborating the expenditures on social sector in the budget.
The energy sector sub-group convened by Farooq Rahmatullah proposed the possibility of drilling over 100 wells in the next financial year for the development of oil and gas sector. Another proposal pertained to improvement in recovery mechanism by the ministry of water and power to collect the amount due to both public and private sector. The group further suggested revision of the sectoral priority in
order to give preference to power sector and industry.
Dr Abid Qayyum Suleri the convenor of food security and agriculture Sub-group presented a proposal to revise the food security agendas and policies according to the new definition of poverty line of $2 a day. The other proposals included formation of a National Food Security Council with representation of Provincial Governments and other
relevant stake holders, co chaired by Federal Ministers for Finance and
Food Security & Research and introduction of special nutrition programs for children under 5 years.
School feed programme in most food insecure districts of Pakistan and stimulus programs to expand farm outputs and market access with the help of National Food Security Council were also proposed. The social sector sub group was represented by Dr Sania Nishtar.
The group presented various proposals including the establishment of Geographic Information System (GIS) based Social Sector
Information Observatory, resolution of the post 18th amendment outstanding issues and developing instruments to cater to demand side of
social protection needs. The Finance Minister said that each and every proposal of the EAC will be considered seriously and where possible their valuable contributions will be implemented. The meeting was also attended by Secretaries of the federal government and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance along with the members of Economic Advisory Council.