Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar has said that the present government since assuming power has made strenuous efforts for putting the national economy back on track.

Contrary to the predictions of economic wizards and pundits, it successfully guarded the country against going into default, achieved economic stability treading on the path of strictly enforced reforms agenda and has now undertaken the course to economic growth and consolidation of economic gains made thus far.

The Minister was addressing the Economic Advisory Council here Monday evening. The Minister cited important economic indicators which manifested stability of the economy. He said the national forex reserves stood at $17.648 billion on 7th May 2015, foreign remittances in July - April 2014-15 were $14.969 billion compared to $12.89 billion in the same period last fiscal year, showing 16.12pc increase. FBR revenue was $1968.8 billion July - April 2014-15 compared to $1744.9 billion last fiscal year showing increase of 12.8pc despite huge fall in oil prices. Inflation (CPI) touched the lowest stage of last over 10 years at 2.1pc in April while it was 9.2pc last year in April. He said growth rate in GDP was envisaged to be 5.1pc by June.

The Minister responding to comments from the participants on the importance of developing aviation industry, said the aviation policy had already been announced and would be incorporated in the forthcoming budget. Dar added that already the PSDP size had been enhanced from Rs. 325 billion to Rs425 billion last year and further increased to Rs 525 billion in the current fiscal year.

The Finance Minister also dilated on the implementation of budget initiatives and said the recent most step in this direction was the announcement of farmers credit scheme. A large part of the Rs 500 billion agriculture credit earmarked in current fiscal year had been disbursed.

The Minister said the govt attached due importance to promotion of health and education facilities and the next budget would reflect due focus on these areas. He agreed with the participants’ views on engaging the private sector for establishment of modern and fully equipped hospitals across the country to provide quality health service to the people at large.

 He also welcomed proposals from the participants on enhanced participation of the private sector in developing the energy sector. Members of the Council called for greater focus of the federal govt on underprivileged areas in the country, especially in the province of Balochistan.

The Minister expressed complete agreement to their recommendation.

There was detailed discussion among the members on the expansion of tax net with a view to enhancing tax revenue. The Minister responded that the Tax Reforms Commission had undertaken hard work in this area and their recommendations would be reflected in the budget 2015.

With the consensus of the participants, the Minister issued instructions for reconvening the EAC meeting for further discussions and recommendations by the members.