KARACHI: Federal Finance Minister, Senator Ishaq Dar on Wednesday dismissed the impression that the country is faced with a default threat, saying that the government is making efforts to stabilize the economy.
Steps are being taken to stop the smuggling of US dollar to a “neighbouring” country, which will also help the economy, he told reporters after a seminar on “Hurmat-e-Sood”, organized jointly by the Centre of Islamic Economics and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).
He said that the country’s economic problems are ‘temporary’. He said the past issues were worse than those of present following nuclear explosions, which led to tight sanctions.
Despite sanctions after the nuclear tests in 1998, which had harder impact on the economy, he said, the then government still recovered it in a better way. He hoped that the country’s economy will soon be put back on track. He; however, urged the politicians to stop saying that the country is going to a default.
Earlier, speaking at the seminar, he assured the religious scholars about the government’s efforts to play a role in making the national banking system free from interest.
He also asked the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to see the complaints of Madaris (seminaries) and mosques regarding problems in opening bank accounts, and taxes in electricity bills.
Ishaq Dar also assured the seminar participants that the SBP will work on the recommendations, propositions and demands of the religious scholars which they made during their speeches to develop the banking system on Shariah basis.
He urged the religious scholars to step up to initiate the system of Zakat and usher, saying that businesses will benefit from the Islamic banking system.
Replaying to a question, he said that the country needs to rationalize its economy through reducing spending and improving revenues.
He said that the country’s economy is in a “vortex”, which the government pulling up through efforts. He repeated that the nation needs a “charter of economy” to solve its problems.
The current account and budget deficits have been deep-rooted into the country’s economic system for a long time, he said, adding there should be a financial discipline to end the unhealthy trend.
He advised that the Islamic banking system should also adopt products like mutual funds, and insurance that is primary offer of the conventional banks.
The Finance Minister pointed out that the informal interest-based system is lending money on 45 percent, which even emerged more expensive than that of the conventional one. He vowed to close this system.
The Islamic banking system is aimed at facilitating the society. During the last tenure of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), he said, his efforts linked 30 percent of the country’s population to the banking system.
Governor SBP, Jameel Ahmed thanked the CIE and FPCCI for holding the seminar on interest-free banking system, saying that the event has brought businessmen community and religious scholars together.
He said that the SBP has also provided an equal opportunity to the Islamic banking system to help develop Riba-free banking.
There are five full-fledged Islamic banks, which provide services in line with the Shariah while 17 conventional ones have a partial Islamic banking operation, he informed the seminar.
He said that the appeal for the Islamic banking system is growing in Pakistan, as they offer several products to meet the customers’ demands.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022