World acknowledging economic reforms process in Pakistan: Hafeez
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – Adviser on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has said that the whole world gets the knowledge that the economic reforms process in Pakistan is well on track and is being appreciated by international financial institutions.
Addressing a press conference along with Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Shabbar Zaidi this afternoon, the finance adviser said that the economic indicators have shown significant improvement in last five months.
Current account deficit reduced by 35%
Hafeez Shaikh said current account deficit reduced by 35 per cent last year and has seen more improvement in the last five months. He said the fiscal deficit in the same period went to surplus, if interest rate is ignored. He said portfolio investment and Foreign Direct Investment are also seeing upward trajectory.
WB, ADB, IMF hails economic performance
The adviser said the World Bank’s (WB) president during his visit to Pakistan appreciated the economic performance. He also indicated to further improve relations of the bank with Pakistan. He also mentioned Asian Development Bank (ADB), which is one of the biggest development partners of Pakistan, has increased its financing to Islamabad by 3 billion dollars after seeing the progress. Hafeez Shaikh said IMF team during its visit reviewed the economic performance and expressed satisfaction on not only meeting the targets but also surpassing these.
$500mln tranche to Pakistan on immediate basis
The finance adviser said that IMF recommended their board to release the 500 million dollar tranche to Pakistan on immediate basis. He said world renowned rating agency Moody's has upgraded Pakistan's credit rating from negative to stable. Hafeez Shaikh said the portfolio investment has seen investment of around one billion dollars. He said the trust of the domestic investors has also increased on economic policies of the government. He said the reserves of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) are also seeing increase. He said revenue collection increased by 16 per cent in last five months. He expressed optimism that non-revenue target of 1200 billion rupees will be achieved.
Electricity, gas being subsidized
Hafeez Shaikh said electricity and gas are being subsidized by the government to increase business and exports of the country. He said government has decided to give 300 billion rupees to business community at subsidized rates as loans to spur the economic activities. He said government is providing subsidy to 75 per cent of electricity consumers. He further said tax refunds worth 30 billion rupees were distributed among the businessmen in cash form.
Petrol price not increased in last four months out of five
To questions, the adviser said price of petrol was not increased in last four months out of five. He said decrease in petrol prices was carried out keeping in view the reduction in prices worldwide. Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar said bringing Pakistan out of economic crisis was a big challenge but now we are moving towards stability. He said FBR's revenue growth has witnessed 17 per cent increase. To a question regarding export refunds, FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi said refund system has been made automated and no human has any role in it. He said the FBR is working to address issues regarding submission forms of export refunds.