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The Nation

Published Date: Dec 10, 2014

Pakistan Keen to settle disputes with India to build economic relation: Dar

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Tuesday said that
Pakistan is keen to settle the disputes with India so that the two
countries can focus on building economic relations.
Speaking at the
3-day Sustainable Development Conference with the theme “Pathways to
Sustainable Development” held under the auspices of SDPI here on
The Minister said economic recovery and prosperity of
Pakistan will play an important role in the region. We are keen to
settle our disputes with India so that the two countries can focus on
building economic relations, he added.
Talking about the key
achievements in a short period of eighteen months of the government, the
Minister said that economic growth which had averaged around 3pc in the
five years before our government has been estimated at 4.14pc during
2013-14 as per the provisional estimates, compared to 3.7pc in 2012-13.
This is the highest growth in the last six years. Similarly per capita
income which stood at $1340 in 2012-13 increased to $1386, showing a
growth of 3.5pc. He said inflation which had averaged around 12pc in the
five years before our government, was recorded at 8.6pc for 2013-14,
despite undertaking significant fiscal adjustment and enhanced tax
effort; during October 2014, CPI recorded at 5.8pc and during November
2014, it stood at 4.0pc – the lowest level in 11 years. Dar said that
FBR revenues which had registered one of the poorest performances in the
recent past of a meagre 3pc growth in 2012-13, were up by 16.44pc in
2013-14. During July-November 2014-15, FBR revenue registered a growth
of 12.7pc over last year. The FBR revenue during this period recorded Rs
901.55 billion as compared to Rs 799.87 billion last year. Remittances
were recorded at $6.078 billion during July-October 2014-15 against
$5.276 billion in 2013-14, showing an increase of 15.21pc.
Minister added that the government had made other important achievements
also. These include raising of $2 billion through Eurobond after 7
years; raising of $1 billion through International Sukuk after 9 years;
successful auction of 3G-4G licences. Nearly $1.2 billion were raised
and two more licences are still available for auction. Then there has
been resumption of programme lending by World Bank and ADB that has
enabled us to access some $1.5 billion from these institutions during
the year. He also hinted at construction of terminal at Port Qasim to
import LNG, which will likely receive LNG soon.
The Minister said
international think tanks and research groups have recognised Pakistan’s
impressive economic turnaround in these past eighteen months. Jetro
declared Pakistan as likely to be the 2nd choicest place for FDI;
Goldman Sachs forecasted that Pakistan which is currently at 44th
position would be world’s 18th largest economy by 2050; OICCI raised
Pakistan’s index from negative 34 to positive 2; Moody’s raised our
economic outlook from negative to positive; and in Neilsen’s Global
Survey of Consumer Confidence, Pakistan’s index rose to 99 in the 1st
Quarter of 2014 from the lowest level of 86 in the 3rd Quarter of 2011,
Dar added.
We are expanding our economic ties with China by building
the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will link Gwadar to
Kashgar, both through railways as well as highways. In addition, MoUs
have been signed with China for energy projects. In Afghanistan, we have
supported the process of elections and welcomed the resolution of
election dispute between the presidential candidates and eventual
transition of power to new democratic government. We have also welcomed
the signing of the US-Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA)
which, we believe, will contribute to stability in the wake of
withdrawal of International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) from
Dar said likewise, Iran is a very important neighbour
with whom we not only share a very long border but also like
Afghanistan, strong cultural and religious ties. Pakistan will benefit
immensely as it will pave the way for the construction of the
Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, where India can also join eventually. We
have concluded the 19th session of the Pakistan-Iran Joint Economic
Commission and took a number of decisions aimed at closer bilateral
economic and trade cooperation.
The Minister said apart from
contributing to regional economy through cooperation with its neighbours
and regional countries, Pakistan is actively promoting a number of
projects that would enhance regional connectivity and joint exploitation
of regional resources. Three projects are notable in this regard. He
said first, the CASA-1000 is the Central Asia South Asia electric power
transmission project that will transmit already available surplus power
to deficient countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The 1222 km
transmission line, costing nearly $1 billion will originate in Kyrgyz
Republic and pass through Tajikistan and Afghanistan and terminate in
Pakistan. It will supply 1300 MW of power, 300 MW for Afghanistan and
1000 MW for Pakistan. Second, he said we are the central part of the
Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project,
which will supply natural gas from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan
and India. Third, he said is the Central Asia Regional Economic
Cooperation (CAREC) which is a partnership of 10 countries (Afghanistan,
Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, China,
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), supported by 6 multilateral
institutions, working together to promote development through
cooperation, leading to accelerate growth and poverty reduction. The
priority areas of cooperation are transport; trade facilitation; energy
and trade policy. Just a few months back, CAREC Ministers approved a $23
billion action plan for undertaking regional connectivity projects in
the priority areas in member countries, Dar remarked.

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