Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Friday gave three years macro-economic roadmap at National Defense University (NDU) taking the GDP growth rate to 7 by the year 2017-18.

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar addressed the participants of the 16th National Security Workshop on the topic “Economic Policy of Pakistan” at the National Defense University on Friday. Addressing the participants the Finance Minister said that fiscal consolidation; power sector reforms, gas sector reforms, privatisation programme, debt management strategy and monetary management are our top priorities.

Discussing the macro-economic stability plan for the next three years the Minister said, we have clearly set our targets. We shall take the GDP growth rate to 7pc, industrial growth to 8pc, fixed investment to GDP ratio to 22pc, fiscal deficit 4pc of the GDP, public debt under 57pc of the GDP, and inflation under 8pc. We will also bring tax to GDP ratio to 15pc, exports to $32 billion, foreign direct investment to $5.5 billion and we have a commitment to take the foreign exchange reserves to $20 billion by the year 2017-18, the Minister added.

Deliberating on how these targets would be achieved, the Minister said the above can be achieved through democratic governance which requires supremacy of the Constitution and rule of law in order to reduce corruption, avoiding tax evasion, wasteful expenditure and misuse of power. We wish to follow sound macroeconomic policies to reduce fiscal and current account deficits, curb inflationary pressures and increase foreign exchange reserves. The Minister emphasised full exploitation of the technological potential in industry, agriculture and information technology and optimum utilisation of the country’s physical and economic resources for a better economic future of the country.

Ishaq Dar made special mention of National Power Policy 2013-18. He said it focuses on improved governance structure, supportive legal framework, financial sustainability, supply-demand side management and promoting private sector participation in the sector. He said implementation of this policy will help improve the governance and financial viability of power sector.

Concluding his address, the Minister said Pakistan is a nation of 180 million strong, hard-working and intelligent people capable of occupying a respectable position in the comity of nations. However, Pakistan has had many failed attempts to break out from the vicious cycles of on-and-off process of economic development in the last 67 years. The first and primary element of our vision is to permanently break the vicious cycle, and to put the economy on a sustainable path of economic prosperity.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the World Bank led by MsSatu Kristina Kahkonon, Director, met Finance Minister Ishaq Dar here on Friday.

Welcoming the delegation, the Minister Finance Minister Ishaq Dar thanked the World Bank for approving Country Partnership Strategy (CPS 2015-19) which is aligned with the Government’s economic development agenda/ priorities i.e. transforming the energy sector; supporting private sector development; reaching out to the vulnerable/ poor; and leveraging regional markets. He also appreciated the Bank for approving financing of CASA-1000 and Dasu Hydro Power Projects for Pakistan, which will help reduce electricity shortages and play a vital role in economic growth of the country. The Minister acknowledged Bank’s support of $1 billion for Development Policy Credits for Fiscally Sustainable and Inclusive Growth and Pakistan’s First Power Sector Reform Development Policy Financing.

The Minister on this occasion expressed commitment for continuous reforms in the areas of energy; taxation and revenue mobilization; private and financial sector development; financial inclusion; secured transactions framework; and expansion of social protection. He also appreciated effective administration of Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa/FATA and Balochistan. The Minister said Pakistan looked to WB’s support on energy sector development and construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam.

The visiting delegation felicitated Finance Minster Dar and his whole economic team on the successful 4th-5th review with the IMF and launch of Sukuk, Islamic Bonds, bringing strength to the national economy. The delegation also congratulated Ishaq Dar on the headway made regarding the CASA-1000 during his visit to the USA. Director, Satu Kristina said it is all a reflection of the effective economic policies adopted by the present government. “It is indeed a tribute to the government’s commitment to reform”, remarked Rachid Benmassoud, Country Director, World Bank who accompanied Satu Kiristina on the occasion. He said it sends a positive signal to the economic market.  

­Satu Kahkonon at this juncture remarked that with Pakistan achieving the $15 billion forex reserves mark, Pakistan will become IBRD partner. She also referred to the meeting between MD World Bank, Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif where the former delivered a WB President’s letter to PM Nawaz Sharif reiterating  support to Pakistan with regard to flood affectees and IDPs besides offering assistance for polio and other immunisation programmes in Pakistan.

Director Satu Kahkonon hoped for active interaction between Pakistan and the WB aiming at future cooperation.