ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance Asad Umar on Wednesday said an amount of Rs 760 billion was paid as interest on loans during the last year while the loan amount had arisen from Rs 61 billion dollars to 95 billion dollars during the last tenure of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Winding up speech on the Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019, the minister said the World Bank had stopped its lending programme for Pakistan in the previous tenure while the total loan amount had risen to 95 billion dollars.
The minister said the incumbent government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) welcomed the suggestion put forward by the Leader of the Opposition of formulating a charter of democracy by incorporating input from all the political parties.
“We don’t want political scoring and every suggestion presented in the House or in committee meeting will be welcomed,” he added. Asad Umar said the economic infrastructure had weakened during the last ten years and those inquiring about loans were informed that they themselves had taken new loans to pay the old ones.
Giving a comparison of increase in inflation rate during first six months of last three tenures, the minister said inflation rate was 25 percent during the PPP tenure and 10.9 percent in the PML-N tenure while it had been three percent during the tenure of incumbent PTI government. The minister said the economic growth rate was high in the PTI government as compared to the previous regimes. Those heading the opposition parties were not properly briefed about the economic situation by the advisors as they claimed reduction of 77 percent in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
There had been decrease of 17 percent not 77 percent in the FDI which was due to repatriation of profit on old investment, he said ,adding the FDI had increased by 13.3 percent during the first six months of PTI government as compared to the previous tenures.
The minister informed the House that stock exchange index dropped from 52000 to 42000 points during May 2017 to May 2018.
He said the opposition had criticized the government for introducing the finance bill for the second time but it introduced two finance bills itself in the last year of their government.
Asad Umar criticized PPP leader Bialwal Bhutto Zardari, saying he delivered his speech in English giving a message to the `owners’ that they were ready to serve them again on their terms.
“ Now Pakistan is being governed by a courageous leader who has taken revenge from the enemy in daylight within 24 hours (of aggression),” he said adding Sindh, including Karachi, and all other areas of Pakistan would progress during the PTI government.
The minister said every decision would be made in the interest of the country and its progress as well as prosperity would be measured. The IMF financing facility would be availed on the terms which would be in favour of the people of Pakistan, he added.