ISLAMABAD - The Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Friday informed that country has faced huge financial losses due to current political uncertainty including prolong sit-ins of PTI and PAT in federal capital.

Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood briefed the Senate’s body, which met under the chairmanship of Senator Ilyas Bilour, on the current economic situation of the country. He informed the country’s economic situation has been affected due to the current political situation of the country, as the currency was depreciated. The government has failed to complete three transactions on time due to the political uncertainty in the country that included issuing of Sukuk, divestment of OGDCL shares and IMF next release, he added.

The Committee was briefed that visits of three Presidents of different countries had been postponed due to the sit-ins. He informed that government and China were set to sign investment deals during the visit of Chinese President.

Secretary Finance said that inflation rate has remained stable in last seven to eight months. The government would give further relief in petroleum products prices if country has suitable environment. Waqar Masood said that government has planned to disinvest the ten percent share of OGDCL, which would generate $850 million. The country’s foreign exchange reserves are around $13 billion and country has deprived of adding $2.4 billion to the reserves due to the sit-ins, the committee was briefed.

Senator Ilyas Bilour showed reservations over the delay in pending amount worth of $800 million from Etisalat despite resolving pending issue of transferring 131 properties in their favour. He said that government of Pakistan had signed wrong privatisation agreements with Etisalat and KESC. The petroleum prices are declining in the World but Pakistanis are still charging high prices for oil, he added. The Senator further said that State Bank of Pakistan should reduce the discount rate keeping in view the declining inflation rate.

Senator Usman Saifullah Khan in his remarks said that it would be difficult to rebuild the confidence of the foreign investors after sit-ins in Islamabad, which were earlier interested to invest in Pakistan. We all have to work jointly for the economic growth of the country, he added.

In her remarks, Senator Kalsoom Pervain said that prices of basic food commodities have surged by 80 percent in the country, which makes the life of common people miserable. She added that poor people are receiving hefty electricity bills. The government should revive the loss making public sector entities instead of privatising them, she added.  The committee was also briefed by NDMA chairman Major General Saeed Aleem on the recent floods and losses occurred. The agriculture sector has faced huge loss due to recent floods in different parts of the country. 23 districts of Punjab, 4 of Sindh, 5 of Gilgit Baltistan and 4 districts of Azad Kashmir have been affected due to the floods.

He informed the committee more than 1.7 million people and 2.4 million acre land has been affected due to the floods, which also caused 359 death and 644 injured people.