ISLAMABAD -  Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday claimed that rupee/dollar parity has improved by 1 rupee in last couple of days due to the crackdown launched by the government against illegal money changers.

“One rupee devaluation costs Rs57 billion loss to the exchequer which is detrimental for Pakistan,” said Finance Minister in a meeting with the delegation of Forex Association of Pakistan, led by its chairman Shaikh Allauddin, on the issue of smuggling of foreign exchange from the country.

Currency dealers said Pakistanis are conducting illegal international transactions in dollar-denominations every day via Dubai, which is creating shortage of dollars in the open market.

The US dollar traded at Rs108 in the open market during this week, which was in range from Rs105-106 throughout 2016.

On Wednesday, the finance minister had directed Federal Investigation Authority (FIA), Intelligence Bureau, Custom Intelligence and State Bank of Pakistan to keep strict vigilance to control currency and bullion smuggling.

As a result of crackdown against unscrupulous elements, the rupee/dollar parity has improved by rupee one in the last 48 hours, finance minister mentioned.

He said that the government would not allow any unscrupulous element to play with destiny of the country. The government did it in past (in 1998 and 2013) and would correct this unnatural hike this time as well, he affirmed.

The minister mentioned during the meeting that some unpatriotic elements have been involved in forex and bullion smuggling.

He reiterated, in unequivocal terms, that rupee/dollar parity will not be allowed to be tampered through illegal and unnatural practices, and discipline will be enforced.

The forex dealers appreciated steps taken by the agencies which have resulted in improvement of rupee/dollar parity. They assured their fullest cooperation to the government.

They also assured that they would not support any member of their association if involved in this illegal practice. It is expected that the situation will further improve in the coming week, they observed.

Improved energy

infrastructure, security

key to higher growth

Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar on Friday said that strengthening of the energy infrastructure and improving the security situation will be the key to achieving higher levels of growth in Pakistan. “The slowdown in the global economy has posed a risk for Pakistan, just like other developing economies,” the minister noted while addressing the participants of National Security Workshop (18) at Institute for Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis (ISSRA), NDU.

The minister was received by Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt and DG ISSRA Major General Ghulam Qamar and senior officials of the college.

The finance minister spoke on the economic policy of Pakistan and shared the perspective on Pakistan’s economy, the challenges faced by the government in 2013, steps taken for fostering growth and the roadmap for future economic growth in the country.

The minister said that when the government came to office its priority was to re-fix the economy and bring macro-economic stability. Prior to 2013, the country was faced with serious challenges like macro-economic instability, frequent power outages and dire security situation. Agriculture, large scale manufacturing and services sectors were all underperforming.

The foreign exchange reserve position had reached precarious levels; the interest rates and inflation were high.

The external sector was heavily out of balance, and the performance of state-owned enterprises had severely deteriorated.

He said, “The incumbent government has paid attention to all these issues and achieved considerable success in resolving them. We took necessary and difficult steps to avoid predicted default, and ensure fiscal discipline and consolidation. In this regard, we undertook structural reforms, including restructuring pubic sector enterprises, and other measures including reduction in un-targeted subsidies and broadened the tax base.

Measures were also taken to build foreign exchange reserves, contain inflation and overcome energy shortages. Now, our country ratings have been improved by rating agency as acknowledgement of our achievements.”

The workshop members included Senators, MNAs, MPAs, senior military officers, bureaucrats, ambassadors and representatives of the civil society.