Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar claimed on Wednesday that the way Pakistan’s economy was performing, it would emerge as the 18th largest economy of the world in the next few years.

“According to foreign experts, our country is the 44th largest economy of the world, and it will become 18th within next few years,” he added, while addressing the members of Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry here at MCCI headquarters.

He boasted that the PML (N) government implemented the Charter of Economy after the Charter of Democracy. “All political parties should follow the vision of Mian Nawaz Sharif and adopt the Charter of Economy,” he added.

Dar said that the foreign exchange reserves of the country stood at $15 billion as the government had eliminated lawlessness and destabilisation from the country to strengthen the economy.

He told the MCCI members that the government’s focus was on four Es, which included economy, energy, education and extremism. “The government’s focus is on the right spot as evident by progressing economy Dar claimed that the energy crisis would end in 2018.

The finance minister also pointed out that the country and nation paid a heavy price for eliminating terrorism.

He disclosed the government would allocate Rs. 45 billion for the ongoing war against terror in 2016-17, and made it clear that the civil and military leadership were on the same page for uprooting terrorism from the country.

Dar added the government had to take tough decisions to prevent the country from going bankrupt. “Operation Zarb-e-Azb was at its peak while the security forces also achieved successes in Karachi and Balochistan,” he elaborated.

He hoped the Economic Corridor project would prove a turning point for Pakistan, disclosing that the tax recovery ratio had also increased to 18 percent from 3.3 per cent. “Now investors from countries like China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are showing interest in investing in Pakistan, in view of fast growth of the country’s economy.

Referring to the government’s performance, he said that it increased per capita income, brought poverty down, increased development funds to Rs 700 billion and advanced Rs. 600 billion agricultural loans. The minister declared that the government would revive the SME Bank with the help of the private sector and pay refunds to 34, 000 tax payers at the rate of Rs. 5 million each.

He added the government had accepted all genuine demands of the traders as well as their recommendations, and introduced volunteer scheme as well as one-page tax return form in English and Urdu.

Dar said the future of Pakistan was bright, but some people could not see Pakistan flourishing and made attempts to create misunderstandings. “As soon as the country starts moving on the path to progress, such people get sick,” he grumbled.

He revealed that 22 international corporations that left Pakistan due to poor conditions had returned to the country. “Pakistan’s Stock Exchange stands at the highest level in its history,” he reminded. Referring to the Benazir Income Support Programme, Dar said that when PML (N) came to power, the allocation for the programme stood at Rs. 42 billion, but it increased it to Rs. 105 billion.