ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Ishaq Dar yesterday said that loadshedding will end by 2018.

He said that the PML-N government has launched several power projects like mega dams Dasu and Diamir Bhasha which will also help in water storage.

He was addressing a seminar - ‘Various circles of economic development and national cohesion’ which was organised by the Embassy of Republic of Korea and the Institute for Policy Reforms.

“We are currently facing a shortfall of about 5000MW whereas energy projects of 24000MW are under process and some of them will start generating 10600 MW by the end of year 2017 or early 2018,” Ishaq Dar said.

He further said that additional 14000-megawatt electricity would be added in the national grid by 2020. “The government is working on civil nuclear energy projects, which would add 1000mw additional electricity to the system in next seven years”, he remarked.

Ishaq Dar said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would benefit the entire region. The minister said that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves had made a significant increase in past 18 months which surged to $20 billion from only $8 billion level in February 2014. He made it clear that reserves are built due to the borrowing from IMF by saying, Pakistan entered into Fund programme to repay the previous loans.

Talking about the economic situation, Ishaq Dar said that Pakistan had achieved 4.24 percent GDP growth in financial year 2015, reaching the highest level in seven years. The fiscal deficit, which stood at 8.2 percent at the end of FY13, has been brought down to 5.3 percent in FY15. Positive macroeconomic performance has resulted in a soaring stock market and increased investment, he added. He said that we have not only continued the National Income Support Programme, of which BISP is a major component, but have also increased cash grant per beneficiary family from Rs 12,000/- to Rs 18,000/- per year. The budgetary allocation has been increased from Rs 40 billion in 2012-13 to Rs 102 billion in the current financial year.

The Minister expressed gratitude to Government and people of the Republic of Korea for their continued and long-standing economic support.

He mentioned that the 2015-2017 Economic Development Cooperation Fund Framework Agreement amounting to US$ 500 million was signed on 2 October 2015 in Islamabad.

Under the Framework Arrangement, various projects in hydropower, road infrastructure, agriculture, improvement of power distribution system, information technology and health sector will be completed. It should be our goal that, in addition to financing from Korea, Pakistan also benefits from Korean knowledge and experience, Minister remarked.

Concluding the speech the Minister underscored that sustainable development and growth can only be achieved by higher education, continuous professional development and motivation to work with equal opportunities.