- Finance minister says political instability has been a major item for compounding loss to the economy
ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Saturday said the country would not default, adding that the declining trend has been stopped and now it has to be reversed.
Addressing a delegation of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce, Pakistan Business Council (PBC) and Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) with respect to budget 2023-24 proposals, the finance minister said it was his usual practice during the previous tenure after 2013 to invite chambers and businesses for their input in the budget-making process and accommodate their suggestions.
He added that “today we are sitting for the next fiscal year budget and asked the chambers to suggest responsible proposals with regard to the industry-specific problems which could be accommodated according to available fiscal space and keeping in view global commitments.” Dar said the government wants to steer the country out of the economic situation.
He added that after the budget there would be long-term measures for improvement in agriculture and other sectors including IT. The finance minister also recounted that difficult economic challenges were twice dealt by him in the past and expressed the hope that he would be able to do again.
He said the government has implemented the sovereign commitments by undertaking difficult reforms at huge political cost which burdened the business community and common man whether power, gas sectors or on the fiscal side. He accused the PTI government of not only reversing the commitments in fiscal year 2022 but failing to implement them and consequently, Pakistan’s credibility was eroded.
He said there is no quick fix to these problems and challenges required time. The finance minister also stated that political instability is a major item for compounding loss to the economy.
He regretted there was an unprecedented delay on the part of the multilateral, obviously referring to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement, despite the fact that the most difficult and painful reforms in energy, gas, and fiscal sides were undertaken. Dar also castigated those who were predicting that the country is at the verge of default and stated “I assure you that Pakistan is a sovereign country and will not default.” He said if there is debt of $100 billion on the country, it also had assets of trillions of dollars. He said that the government’s foremost and first priority is that there is no delay in sovereign commitments
He said that appropriate time was to consolidate the achievements which were after 2013. He maintained that “at present, the declining trend was stopped and we have to reverse it now”.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023