ISLAMABAD  - Federal Minister for Finance, Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Wednesday hoped that Pakistan would soon get Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) status that would be helpful to raise country’s annual export by about $2 billion.

The govt had utilised diplomatic and other channels in this regard, he said ,adding, that European Commission and Committee had recommended Pakistan for GSP status. He hoped that export would be started to European countries on January 1, 2014, after the approval of the European Parliament. Talking to a private TV news channel, Dar said that the government was also negotiating with US for boosting trade and investment activities. It was a good sign that US Overseas Cooperative Development Council, International Finance Cooperation were increasing investment in Pakistan, he added.

He said that maintaining law and order was necessary to attract foreign investors. The PML-N government was committed to make the country self-reliant, he added. To a question, he said government had inherited about $9 billion loans from previous regime, adding, that country will have to pay $3 billion installment during present year.

Talking about Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, Ishaq Dar said that financial planning was needed to implement the project, adding, that Iran had excused for investing $ 500 million on pipeline project in Pakistan.  He hoped that the country would soon emerge in eleven biggest economies of the world as concerted efforts were being made in this regard.  Talking about the issue of price-hike, he said that the government was working on a mechanism to control the prices of basic commodities of life.

Consumer rights in the country were needed to be improved to stop artificial price increased, he added.

He said that matter of stopping export of tomato and onion was discussed in Economic Coordination Counsel (ECC) meeting but it was delayed on the demand of National Food Ministry (NFM). Only Punjab province was facing the shortage of these two items, he said.  

He said that international economic rating agencies were expressing positive outlook of the country’s economy.  

He said that Pakistan had Rs 2946 billion loan till 1999, but in previous regimes it had reached to more than Rs 12,000 billion.  

He blamed former regime for not implementing NEPRA recommendations regarding electricity tariff to get political benefits.  

He said that oil prices were linked to international market and OGRA was responsible to set new prices. He, however, said that on the direction of the Prime Minister the diesel prices were reduced despite the OGRA recommendation for increasing it.

He said that government was providing subsidy amounting to Rs 175 billion on diesel.

Dar said that government had ensured the payment of circular debt amounting to 503 billion rupees to overcome energy crisis. About 1700 mw electricity was included in the national grid station, he added.  

Responding to another question, he said that the government was providing subsidy of Rs 250 billion on the 70 per cent domestic users of electricity.  

He said that production of industry was also growing due to improving situation of energy in the country.

To another question, he said that about 8500mw electricity would be included in national grid station during the next year as government was working on mega power projects.