LAHORE - Federal Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar Saturday stressed the need for formulating and implementing a ‘charter of economy’ to develop Pakistan speedily at all levels.

He was addressing a seminar on “The Role of Islamic Banking in Economic Development of Pakistan” here. Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, SBP Deputy Governor Saeed Ahmad and banking sector’s leaders were also present.

Ishaq Dar said the PML-N government was committed to do away with the three major challenges of economic revival, energy crisis and elimination of terrorism from the country, adding, “We have almost grasped all these major challenges by ensuring remarkable achievements in these directions.” The minister, however, called upon all the stakeholders of economy - the banks, businessmen, industrialists and other financial institutions - to play their due and effective role through their contributions in the economic development process of the country.

Senator Ishaq Dar said the PML-N government had always kept the promotion of Islamic banking and financing on priority and today, Islamic Banking (IB) had the share of 13.1 percent in deposits and 11.2 percent in lending in the overall banking sector of the country. The government had also been incorporated the suggestions of Islamic banking leaders into the budget after coming into power.

After global recession of 2007-08 in which billions of dollars institutions went into bankruptcy and a few hundred others were eroded, he said, now there was a great awareness and realization in the world about Islamic banking that was on the rise in the world. The West, he added, was adopting this system on commercial gains basis and “Being a Muslim we should adopt it according to our religion and constitution.”

When Islamic financial sector would develop, you would gain increased risk-free resources which would be of great importance in physical capital formation and economic growth, he maintained.

“The Islamic banking will take you to real economic activity; protect you from speculations; link your risk to your returns, ensure formation of your wealth,” he added.

The government, he said, wanted to switch over the country’s economy from conventional to Islamic mode as early as possible. The minister said, “This is my standing directive to Ministry of Finance to prefer Islamic banking in any public sector borrowing.”

He mentioned that N-government had always put the country’s economy on track to speedy growth, adding that in 2011-12, Pakistan economy was declared instable and no country was then ready to buy Pak bonds, but today Pakistan’s bonds including Sukuk got unprecedented response at global level. Today, 22 credible institutions of the world had declared Pak economy much stable, he added.

The minister said that PML-N government managed to bring down the budget deficit to 5.3 percent from 8.8 percent and would soon lower it further up to 2.4 percent. “We have curtailed the discretionary funds of the Prime Minister and the ministers and I also challenge that there was not any non-transparent transaction at high level,” he added.

Ishaq Dar said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had the vision and plan to take Pakistan forward on all fronts and PML-N government did not plan up to its tenure but make long-term policies and planning with all sincerity to bring the country at par with developed nations.