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Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar has held PTI dharna (sit-in), prolonged cold weather, energy crisis, a massive decline in international commodity prices and slow growth of credit to private sector as key impediments to achieving 5 percent GDP growth in 2014-15. According to a presentation given to the federal cabinet, a copy of which is available with Business Recorder, the Finance Minister focused on what the PML-N inherited in 2013 and achievements in terms of macroeconomic indicators with an extremely ambitious targets for 2017-18.

The federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for 2015-16 is proposed to be 10.4 % higher than the budgeted amount for the current fiscal year with reliance on foreign assistance to the tune of 31% reflecting an 11% increase in reliance in foreign assistance for PSDP in comparison to 2014-15. Total federal PSDP is proposed at Rs 580 billion for 2015-16 with a foreign assistance component of Rs 182.7 billion while the total budgeted PSDP for the current year was Rs 525 billion with foreign assistance of Rs 102.2 billion.
Ministers have reportedly held each other responsible for decline in country's exports during a Cabinet meeting convened on Budget Strategy Paper 2015-16, it was learnt. An official on condition of anonymity said there was no presentation on budget strategy paper for the next fiscal years and the entire briefing to the cabinet members was on two-year performance of Finance Division. There was nothing on budget for next fiscal year or medium or long-term vision.
Pakistan State Oil (PSO) on Tuesday organized a bidders conference in Karachi for its tender to supply LNG, using the recently commissioned Engro terminal. Well-informed sources told Business Recorder the Babar Chaurdhry GM LNG Department and his team was there along with their US and local consultants, SSGC, Engro, FOTCO and USAid representatives. Babar said answers and clarifications would be uploaded on their website within 48 hours. However the current MSPA would not be amended. Representatives of interested bidders attended the meeting. These were BP, Shell, Gunvor, Excelerate, Vitol, Trafigura, Petrochina, Engro, AOT Trading and others.
A warm handshake on Tuesday did a lot to break the ice after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, informed sources told Business Recorder. Sources revealed that the Prime Minister assured Nisar Ali that the latter is in-charge of internal security issues in the country, adding "no one dare interfere in matters of your ministry (interior ministry) in the presence of such a capable minister".
Following prolonged interrogations for over 13 hours, Axact CEO Shoaib Sheikh was finally taken into custody by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Wednesday's small hours, according to Aaj News. Minutes before the announcement of detention, FIA Sindh Director Shahid Hayat, while talking to media, said the FIA has found a lot of educational degrees from Axact offices; now, an FIR could be lodged against Shoaib Sheikh.
China outlined a strategy to boost its naval reach on Tuesday and held a groundbreaking ceremony for two lighthouses in disputed waters, developments likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. In a policy document issued by the State Council, the Communist-ruled country's cabinet, China vowed to increase its "open seas protection", switching from air defence to both offence and defence, and criticised neighbours who take "provocative actions" on its reefs and islands.
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Banking Review 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.795 bln
Exports $1.995 bln
Imports $3.790 bln
WeeklyMay 26, 2015
Reserves $17.749 bln