Press Releases/Media
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January 16, 2018 (PR No. 2264)

Overseas Pakistanis Commission, Punjab met with Dr. Miftah Ismail

A delegation of the Overseas Pakistanis Commission, Punjab (OPC) had a meeting with Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr. Miftah Ismail here on Tuesday.

The delegation apprised the Adviser about various tax-related issues  raised by overseas Pakistanis during  interactions by the OPC with the Pakistani Diaspora.

Adviser Miftah Ismail said Overseas Pakistan had an important role to play in economic development of the country and creating a positive image of Pakistan in their countries of residence. The Government under the leadership of the Prime Minister was committed to taking steps for well being of overseas Pakistanis. He assured the delegation that the tax related issues as conveyed to him would be taken up with FBR and all possible facilitation extended to overseas Pakistanis.

January 15, 2018 (PR No. 2263)

Delegation of FPCCI met with MoS for Finance

A delegation of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) led by President FPCCI Ghazanfar Bilour called on Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan here on Monday. The delegation among others included Mr. Adeel Rauf, Atif Ikram Sheikh, Mian Shaukat, Malik Sohail Hussain, Ch. Javed Iqbal and Mr. Karim Aziz Malik. 

The Minister welcomed the delegation expressing appreciation of the business community’s support for endeavours in strengthening of economy. He shared with the delegation details  about the upcoming Pak-Saudi Joint Ministerial Conference (JMC). He said the occasion shall afford us an opportunity to further strengthen economic cooperation and business linkages between the two brotherly countries. 

The delegation praised the efforts of the government for eradicating the scourge of extremism which has had a positive impact on overall security environment and helped  businesses to flourish. 

The Minister stated that it has been his utmost desire to project the business opportunities and investment potential of Pakistan to the rest of the World. The visiting delegation praised the interest taken by the Minister in in this regard. The delegation wished all success for the upcoming Pak-Saudi JMC session.

January 15, 2018 (PR No. 2263)

US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs called on Adviser to PM on Finance, Dr. Miftah Ismail

US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Ambassador Alice G. Wells called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr. Miftah Ismail here Monday.

They discussed current state of Pak-US ties with particular emphasis on economic cooperation.

Adviser Miftah Ismail welcomed Ms. Wells and said that such bilateral visits are helpful in understanding eachother's point of view.  He said relations between the two countries have been affected by certain recent developments and it was important to remove the misperceptions. 

Adviser Finance  welcomed the planned visits of US business delegations on the occasion and said that people to people contacts are an important part of a bilateral relationship.  He expressed his support for business community's efforts aimed at furthering Pak-US economic ties.  He said that Pakistan has made visible headway in overcoming energy shortages which has given a boost to the country’s productive sectors. This in turn is having a positive impact on overall economic activities and GDP is growing steadily. 

 Alice G. Wells felicitated Miftah Ismail on assuming his new responsibilities and wished him well in his tenure. She said that Pak -US relationship is important and the US would like to carry it forward. She lauded the reforms that Pakistan has undertaken in different economic spheres and expressed US support for similar reform efforts in future.
US Ambassador, David Hale, Secretary Finance Arif Ahmed Khan and other senior officials of the Ministry of Finance were present on the occasion.

January 12, 2018 (PR No. 2262)

Ambassadors of Japan called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance

Japanese Ambassador Takashi Korai called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail here Friday.

At the outset of the meeting, Takashi Korai felicitated Miftah Ismail on assuming his new responsibilities and wished him the best in his tenure.

The Japanese diplomat praised Pakistan’s efforts to eradicate the scourge of terrorism. Adviser Finance welcomed Japan’s technical support in the spheres of anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing. This he said would supplement Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism.

Mr. Takashi Korai shared with the Adviser information about the high level Pak-Japan policy dialogue in February where cooperation in industrial and agricultural sectors would be specially taken up for discussion. There was also discussion between Adviser Finance and Takashi Korai about empowerment of youth through skill development.

Adviser Finance on this occasion called upon Takashi Korai for efforts to encourage more Japanese companies to invest in Pakistan. He assured him full support for such efforts.

Senor officials of the Finance and Economic Affairs Division were present on the occasion.

January 12, 2018 (PR No. 2261)

French Ambassadors called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance

Ambassador of France Marc Barety here on Friday called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Miftah Ismail.

Ambassador Marc Barety discussed with the Adviser matters concerning Pak-France economic cooperation besides other matters of mutual interest.

Adviser Miftah Ismail said both countries have always enjoyed cordial  relations and there is scope for furtherance of their economic partnership. 

He assured the French Ambassador his all out support for efforts aimed at enhancing bilateral economic cooperation.
January 12, 2018 (PR No. 2260)

Iranian Ambassador called on MOS for Finance and Economic Affairs

Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mehdi Honardoost called on the Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan here and discussed matters of bilateral interest.

During the meeting, the two dignitaries agreed on enhancement of bilateral trade between the two brotherly Muslim countries. Keen interest was evinced in the Banking Sector and both sides expressed their desire to enhance cooperation in it.

Both sides expressed satisfaction over the ongoing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations. Besides, commonality of viewpoints was found on various national and international issues and it was affirmed that both sides will cooperate in all sectors. 

January 12, 2018 (PR No. 2259)

Ambassador of UAE called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance

Ambassador of UAE, Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Alzaabi called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail here Friday.

Ambassador Hamad discussed with the Adviser matters concerning Pak-UAE collaboration in different spheres. He said there was need to foster collaboration in health and education sectors which would ultimately help promote human resource development. He also exchanged views with the Adviser on Dubai Expo.

Adviser Miftah Ismail assured the Ambassador of his full support in endeavours to strengthen Pak-UAE relations and overall cooperation. He said Pakistan companies and businessmen have been taking active part in exhibitions in UAE and would participate in such events in future also. He said collaboration in the education and health sectors was indeed important and focus would be laid on these areas in future.

January 11, 2018 (PR No. 2258)

WB Country Director met with Dr. Miftah Ismail

World Bank Country Director, Patchamouthou Illangovan here Thursday met Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail and discussed with him ongoing and future World Bank funded projects and prograqmmes.

Mr. Illangovan apprised the Adviser about the forthcoming visit of Annette Dixon, World Bank Vice President to Pakistan to discuss the current state of economy and other related matters.  He also informed him about the visit to Pakistan by Snezana (Nena) Stoiljkovic IFC Vice President for Asia. He  shared with the Adviser progrmme by the World Bank for undertaking over a billion USD worth of new projects/development progrmames in the near future.

          The Adviser welcomed the planned visit of Annette Dixon saying he looked forward to meeting her for a meaningful discourse on Pak-World Bank economic cooperation. He said the visit would help enhance the current level of bilateral cooperation.
January 11, 2018 (PR No. 2257)

Pak-Afghan Chamber of Commerce & Industries, APTPMA delegation called on Dr. Miftah Ismail

A joint delegation of Pak-Afghan Chamber of Commerce & Industries and All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA) led by Mr. Zubair Motiwala called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr. Miftah Ismail here Thursday.

Members of the Pak-Afghan Chamber of Commerce & Industries apprised the Adviser of the difficulties being faced due to regulatory duty on different types of fruit being imported from Afghanistan. They requested for easing out the duty regime saying the gesture would have positive impact on overall bilateral trade. 

Adviser Finance said that the government wishes to promote trade with Afghanistan and will review the matter in consultation with all the stakeholders, with a view to finding a solution, favourable for bilateral trade.

Representatives of the  APTPMA on the occasion discussed with the adviser matters concerning smooth provision of LNG to textile processing units on rates at par with other areas of the country. They also discussed matters regarding sales tax refunds.

          Adviser Miftah Ismail assured the APTPMA representatives all possible support to resolve their problems. He said that the issues are already under active consideration of the government and appropriate decisions will be taken soon.
January 11, 2018 (PR No. 2256)

WTTI delegation met with Dr. Miftah Ismail

The Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail said that Government welcomes foreign investors to avail investment opportunities in different sectors in Pakistan.    The Adviser was talking to a delegation of World Technology & Trade Inc.(WTTI) which called on him here Thursday morning.

The delegation was led by Robert Y. Ni. The delegation apprised the Adviser that objective of their visit to Pakistan is to explore areas and opportunities for investment. WTTI has deep interest to invest in different sectors including mining, natural resource exploration, hydropower and infrastructure development. WTTI has plans to come up with specific investment ventures in Pakistan in near future and they intend to also set up  their office here.

Adviser Miftah Ismail said the Government would extend them all possible facilitation in their investment ventures. He said Pakistan offers a liberal investment regime and international companies and business concerns are welcome to take advantage of this regime.

WTTI, it may be mentioned is incorporated in California, USA. It is  an independent/advisory consulting firm specializing in serving various international business sectors with business interests in USA, China, Canada and many other countries. WTTI has contributed significantly in technology/equipment transfers, consultation & operating of major infrastructure projects globally including financial investments, mining & metallurgy, construction & development, food, farming & supply, port engineering, general aviation/aircraft, pharmaceuticals, medication, media & entertainment, oil & gas, new energy, IT outsourcing, logistics & distribution.

Senior officials of the Finance Division were present in the meeting. 

January 10, 2018 (PR No. 2255)

Dr. Ishrat Pakistan's candidate for the position of Chairman, IMFC

Former Governor, State Bank of Pakistan, Dr. Ishrat Hussain has been nominated as Pakistan’s candidate for the coveted position of Chairman, International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC).

On the recommendation of Dr. Miftah Ismail, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, the Prime Minister approved nomination of Dr. Ishrat Hussain who has vast academic and professional experience of monetary and financial affairs.

The Chairman IMFC position it may be mentioned, fell vacant on December 01, 2017 after resignation by Augustin Carstens. In view of the importance of the IMFC chair, the procedure for selection of next IMFC Chairman was initiated forthwith and along with other IMF member countries Pakistan was also requested to submit a nomination to IMF Headquarters which has accordingly been done. The IMF Board will make the final decision in this regard with consensus.

The IMFC is the highest policy making body of IMF and is responsible for advising and reporting to the IMF Board of Governors on matters pertaining to the supervision and management of the international monetary and financial system. The IMF chair has previously been held by senior officials of known stature like Gordon Brown, UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, Italy’s former minister of Economy and Finance, Dr. Youssef Boutros-Ghali, Minister of Finance of Egypt, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Augustin Carstens, Governor of Banco de Mexico.

January 10, 2018 (PR No. 2254)

PLGMEA delegation met with Dr. Miftah Ismail, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance

A delegation of Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PLGMEA) led by Fawad Ijaz Khan, Patron-in-Chief, had a meeting with Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail here on Wednesday.

The delegation discussed with the Adviser matters regarding DLTL, Sales Tax refund and customs rebate in respect of PLGMEA. The delegation requested for early disposal of refund/rebate related cases.

Adviser Miftah Ismail assured the delegation of his full support and said the matter of refunds was under active consideration of the Government and its early resolution was a priority of the Prime Minister. He said the business community had an important role to play in strengthening of economy and the Government would facilitate them in every possible way. Tax payers facilitation was indeed among priorities of the present government, he said.

Senior officials of the Finance Division and FBR were also present on the occasion.

January 09, 2018 (PR No. 2253)

US Ambassador called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance

US Ambassador David Hale called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr. Miftah Ismail here on Tuesday.

During the meeting matters relating to Pak-US economic cooperation were discussed.

Mr. David Hale informed the Adviser about the forthcoming visits to Pakistan by US business delegations. He said that the delegation would look to make use of the tremendous business opportunities in Pakistan.

Dr. Miftah Ismail said that the government encourages visits of business delegation and would facilitate the visit of US businessmen. He said that the growing economy is opening new avenues for investment and foreign investors are keen to increase their presence. He said that the government would continue to facilitate such initiatives.

January 09, 2018 (PR No. 2252)

CITIC Group delegation met with Adviser to PM on Finance Dr.Miftah Ismail

The visiting delegation of CITIC, led by Mr. Zhenyi Tang Charmin CLSA , Asia’s leading Capital Markets and Investment Group and subsidiary of CITIC Securities called on Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue , Economic Affairs  Dr. Mufta Ismail here on Tuesday.

 Mr. Zhenyi Tang apprised the Advisor that CITIC is the largest financial conglomerate in China with leading businesses in financial services, industry, resources & energy, agriculture  and construction with operations in more than 20 countries in Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States. The Chairman said that , considering the tremendous potential of Pakistani economy, CITIC is keen to invest in several areas including housing, construction, sovereign and Private Bonds issuance, agriculture and power sector.

 Advisor appreciated the CITIC group for its intended Investment endeavors in Pakistan and assured full support and cooperation from Government of Pakistan. He also invited the group to explore the opportunities for investment in Capital market, Infrastructure projects and possibilities of joint ventures with Pakistani partners.

 Visiting delegation agreed on the proposal of Advisor to PM and informed that, an experts delegation of CITIC would visit Pakistan soon to further discuss areas for cooperation with relevant officials of Government of Pakistan.

January 05, 2018 (PR No. 2251)

CPEC is the road to economic development: MoS for Finance

CPEC is the road to economic development and prosperity; not only for Pakistan and China but also for the whole region. It will bring economic opportunities for different  countries in the region.

This was stated by Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan while speaking as chief guest at the seminar “Belt and Road Initiative and Regional Development” jointly organized by Preston University and Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies here Friday.

The Minister spoke at length on the positive role that CPEC will play towards the strengthening of Pakistan’s economy and added that the energy projects under CPEC will specially boost economic activities.

The Minister stated Pakistan has rendered countless sacrifices in the war on terror and waged a valiant struggle to eliminate the scourge of militancy. Pakistan's sacrifices should never be forgotten. Pakistan he said aims for a great future for the whole region.

The Minister also on the occasion gave away souvenirs among participants and organizers of the seminar.

Earlier professionals and experts from different institutions gave detailed presentations on the significance of “Belt and Road Initiative and Regional Development”.

January 05, 2018 (PR No. 2250)

British High Commissioner met with Adviser to PM

British High Commissioner Thomas Drew called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Economic Affairs and Revenue, Dr. Miftah Ismail here on Friday.

Thomas Drew congratulated Miftah Ismail on assuming responsibilities as Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and assured him of full support in the efforts for further consolidating Pak-UK cooperation. He also apprised the Adviser about activities of DFID in support of Government’s development plans and programmes.

Adviser to Prime Minister on the occasion said that Pakistan and UK have always enjoyed cordial relations. He appreciated efforts of Mr. Thomas drew for further strengthening these relations.

January 05, 2018 (PR No. 2249)

Mr. Najam Sethi, Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) called on Adviser to Prime Minister

Mr. Najam Sethi, Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Dr. Miftah Ismail here on Friday.

The Chairman PCB discussed with the Adviser financial matters relating to PCB. He also shared with the Adviser the programme for future cricket events including PSL.

The Adviser appreciated the efforts and contribution of Mr. Najam Sethi for development and promotion of cricket at both domestic and international levels. He assured of all possible support to PCB for promotion of the sport.

January 05, 2018 (PR No. 2248)

Miftah Ismail felicitates United Business Group, Bilour on success in FPCCI elections

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Economic Affairs and Revenue, Dr. Miftah Ismail has felicitated Mr. Ghazanfar Bilour over his election as President, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) for the year 2018.

The Adviser said election of Mr. Ghazanfar Bilour was an acknowledgement of his experience in the sphere of commerce and industry. Miftah Ismail remarked: “I am confident that during your tenure, the FPCCI will proactively work with all the stakeholders and play due role in further improving and promoting the business environment in our country”.

In a separate message, the Adviser also extended felicitations to S.M Muneer, Group Leader, United Business Group (UBG) on success of the Group in the elections of FPCCI. In his message, the Adviser wished the elected members a successful term in office.

January 03, 2018 (PR No. 2247)

Chairperson CCP called on MoS for Finance

Chairperson Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), Vadiyya Khalil called on Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan here on Wednesday.

The CCP Chairperson briefed the Minister about the working and performance of CCP.

She spoke about the CCP’s enforcement actions, advocacy initiatives, status of the pending court cases, and other pertinent matters. She apprised the Minister that the CCP has achieved three star rating for two consecutive years by the International rating agency, Global Competition Review (GCR), thus bringing the CCP at par with the agencies of Turkey, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Singapore, Poland, New Zealand, Mexico, and Austria.

The Minister appreciated the achievements of CCP. The Minister while highlighting the importance of competition in economy, assured full support to the CCP in its work.

December 29, 2017 (PR No. 2246)

World Bank Country Director met with MoS for Finance

The World Bank Country Director, Patchamuthu Illangovan along with members of his team called on Minister of State for Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan here on Friday.

He congratulated the Minister on assuming his new responsibilities and wished him well in his tenure.
The Minister said World Bank has been a great development partner of Pakistan. He appreciated the contribution of the World Bank for development and progress of the country and hoped this partnership would further grow in future.

Minister Rana Afzal and Mr. Illangovan on the occasion also had a brief discussion about ongoing projects.

December 28, 2017 (PR No. 2245)

Strategy on cards to go after tax-evaders, growth target achievable: Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs

ISLAMABAD, Dec 28 (APP): State Minister for Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan Thursday said the government was devising a strategy to go after the tax-evaders and initially 10,000 people have been identified on the basis of data which would be brought under tax net from next month.

These potential taxpayers have been identified in different fields including education, property and other services sectors, Rana Afzal said in his first-ever interaction with a group of media persons after assuming the charges of State Minister for Finance.

He said that on the basis of data obtained by the government, first batch of 10,000 potential taxpayers would be served notices in the beginning of next month (January).

The minister said that in order to broaden tax net, an amnesty scheme was also under consideration to facilitate Pakistanis bring back their money from abroad. However, he was of the view that this scheme would be executed after thorough consideration.

The minister said that the recently imposed Regulatory Duty (RD) on various importing items by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) would begin showing its positive effects on revenue collection soon.
He said that the number of tax return filers has also increased from 0.914 million last year to 1.14 million during the current year (2017-18), which is a positive sign.

Talking about the performance of economy, the minister said that the country was well in position to achieve 5.8 percent GDP growth easily and expressed the hope that the target of 6 percent was also achievable.

The minister was of the view that the budget deficit would be contained at 5 percent although the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had predicted its upward growth. He said of the view that there was some lack in fiscal performance during the initial months, however expected that the things would be go better now.

To a question on external side, the minister said the country had to pay back $6 billion before June 30 and the government was working on many strategies to meet its expenses, which include borrowings and reducing expenditures.

He categorically stated that the government had no plan to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package, adding that the government had a plan which would be executed to meet the expenses.

He however was of the view that there were many sectors of economy which had been performing well, citing the example of remittances and impressive growth in Large Sector Manufacturing sector.

The minister was of the view that the budget for the upcoming financial year 2018-19 should be presented by the incumbent government as it would be in better position to manage it, however opined that if there was any legal obligations that should be addressed first.

He said that it would be very difficult for the interim government to present the national budget for the upcoming fiscal year as it would have very little time to prepare for the presentation.

To a question about imports, the minister said that although there had been increase in import bill, but these were industry-oriented imports, which would help development of the country in the long-run.
He said that due to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Foreign Direct Investment into the country has increased.

To a question on increasing oil prices, he said that due to harsh winter, the fuel consumption in Europe has increased leading to oil price hike, adding that the oil rates would come down once winter season is over.

The minister also stressed the need for removing the impediments that have been resulting in reduced exports to neghbouring Afghanistan.

December 27, 2017 (PR No. 2244)

Dr. Miftah assumes responsibilities as Adviser to PM on Finance

Dr. Miftah Ismail assumed responsibilities as Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Economic Affairs and Revenue here on Wednesday.

He visited Finance Division and Federal Board of Revenue and met senior officials of the two Divisions.

Talking to the officials, Dr. Miftah said he had a firm resolve for further strengthening of economy and advancing the objective of sustainable and inclusive growth as envisioned by the PML-N leadership. He said that efforts would be particularly focused on enhancing exports and increasing economic growth. Endeavors would also be made for broadening of tax base and lowering of rates, he said.

He called upon all concerned to work dedicatedly as a team towards this end.  

Dr. Miftah will receive formal briefing about the working of various Divisions of the Ministry of Finance and its sub-ordinate offices shortly.

December 26, 2017 (PR No. 2243)

Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan takes Oath of MoS for Finance

The President of Pakistan, on the advice of the Prime Minister appointed Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, MNA as the Minister of State for Finance today. The Oath of Office was administered by the President Mamnoon Hussain. Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan will hold the portfolio of Finance and Economic Affairs as allocated by the Prime Minister.

After assuming charge, the MoS for Finance thanked the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the Leader of the PML-N Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for reposing their trust in his abilities and giving him such an important portfolio. He also thanked Senator Ishaq Dar for recommending him for the post. He also said that he has been serving as a politician for the last 25 years and for the past 4 years he had been assisting the Finance Minister in the budget preparation exercise so he is reasonably familiar with the economic challenges the country has been facing. He asserted that he will work as diligently as possible to serve the country under the leadership of the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

The MoS also said that this is the last year for the current tenure of the government of PML-N but he is sure that many ongoing projects will be completed in this year that will take the GDP to the next higher level. He further stated that he will play a positive role in finding solutions for the economic challenges like trade and fiscal deficits. He prayed to Almighty Allah to help him discharge his duties in the best interest of the country.

December 14, 2017 (PR No. 2242)

IMF Mission's visit to Pakistan

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Mr. Harald Finger visited Pakistan from December 5th to 14th, 2017 for the first Post Program Monitoring (PPM) since the end of Extended Fund Facility (EFF) in September 2016.

The Fund mission held detailed technical discussions with senior officials in the Ministry of Finance and State Bank of Pakistan, beside Ministries of Energy, Planning Development and Reforms, Commerce, Privatization, Railways, and Federal Board of Revenue, Board of Investment, NEPRA, OGRA, SECP. The Mission also held consultative session with Academia, Think Tanks and Bankers. Pakistan team was led by Mr. Shahid Mahmood, Secretary Finance and Mr. Tariq Bajwa Governor State Bank of Pakistan.

Discussions largely focused on the recent economic developments and its outlook. Deliberations were also held on reform efforts undertaken by the Government including fiscal, monetary, financial, energy policies and strengthening investment climate. The Mission recognized that Pakistan growth momentum continues to be on a relatively high trajectory while inflation continues to remain low and stable, helped by supportive fiscal and monetary policies.  Continued policy reforms are likely to contain external imbalances while supporting economic growth in the medium term.

The Mission also recognized notable improvements in Foreign Direct Investment, pickup in exports and recovery in workers' remittances. Furthermore, it also focused on addressing some of the vulnerabilities emanating from the higher level of imports and pressure on country's foreign exchange reserves. However, the Mission welcomed the new policy actions to address these concerns.

The Government reiterated its commitment to stay on path of fiscal consolidation supported by increase in FBR revenues and prudent expenditure management.  The Government also shared its commitment to continue with reform effort for public sector enterprises and protecting the vulnerable segments of the society.

The Mission was pleased to visit Pakistan after a gap of 4 years in improved secure environment. The Fund and Pakistan authorities will continue discussions during Article IV consultations tentatively scheduled for first half of 2018.

November 29, 2017 (PR No. 2241)

Pakistan executes US$ 1.0 billion five years Sukuk, US$ 1.5 billion ten years Eurobond transactions

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has successfully executed US$ 1.0 billion five years Sukuk and US$ 1.5 billion ten years Eurobond transactions at a profit rate of 5.625% and 6.875% respectively.

The order book for Pakistan’s sovereign papers was over US$ 8 billion. However, the Government decided to pick up only US$ 2.5 billion in order to ensure low final yields on the Sukuks and Eurobonds. This reflects the overwhelming confidence of global investors in Pakistan’s economy. It is worth mentioning that 6.875% rate for 10 year Eurobond issuance is the lowest ever rate, as no 10 year bond has ever been sold at a cheaper rate by Pakistan in international capital markets. Furthermore, Pakistan has never executed multiple tranche transactions worth US$ 2.5 billion, simultaneously.

The orders were placed by numerous blue chip institutional international investors from all across the globe. About 44% of the orders were placed by investors from Europe, 24% from Asia, 20% from North America, 8% Middle East and 12% from other regions.

The process of issuance of Sukuk and Eurobond included roadshows in Dubai, London, Boston and New York by a team comprising Mr. Miftah Ismail Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Economic Affairs, Mr. Shahid Mahmood Finance Secretary and Mr. Tariq Bajwa Governor State Bank of Pakistan. The team held meetings with over 100 potential institutional investors in these major financial centres. The Pakistani delegation consistently remained in contact with the Prime Minister who also accorded the final approval for the transactions.
During the roadshows, the investors expressed keen interest in Pakistan and its economy, which is evident by a total bookbuilding of over US$ 8.3 billion.  They were particularly appreciative of the remarkable economic turnaround and high growth rate achieved as a result of economic reforms undertaken by the government. The roadshows ended on 28th November, 2017 and bookbuilding process closed on 29th November, 2017.

It is important to note that the “Subscription Agreement” with Joint Lead Managers provides that the certificates or interests therein will not be offered, sold or transferred directly or indirectly in Pakistan, to residents of Pakistan, or to, or for the account or benefit of, such persons. The issuance of Sukuk and Euro Bond will increase the country’s forex reserves without increasing overall public debt as there will be a corresponding reduction in domestic debt.

Such oversubscription and overwhelming response of global investors to the said sovereign issuance is an evidence of the trust and confidence of international capital markets in the economic policies of the Government and the impressive economic turnaround story of Pakistan.

November 15, 2017 (PR No. 2240)

Date extended for filing of Income Tax Returns/ Statements for Tax Year 2017

Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has extended due date for filing of Income Tax Returns/Statements by salaried individuals, other individuals and AOPs, till 30th November, 2017.

Extension of date has been approved by the Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar on the proposal of FBR, in view of requests made by tax bars, various trade associations and members of the business community. It was felt that the taxpayers could not find ample time for filing of their tax returns. It may be recalled that in the spirit of facilitating filers, the due date was earlier extended from 31st October to 15th  November 2017.

It is added that due date for filing of returns/statements of final taxation in case of companies has not been extended and remains 15th November, 2017

October 31, 2017 (PR No. 2239)

Extension of date for filing of Income Tax Returns / Statements for Tax Year 2017

As directed by Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar on Tuesday, the due date for filing of Income Tax Returns / Statements by Companies, salaried individuals, other individuals and AOPs, has been further extended till 15th November, 2017. Earlier, the due date was extended from 30th September to 31st  October, 2017.

The date was extended in view of the requests made by the tax bars and various trade and other associations. It was felt that the taxpayers could not find ample time for filing of their tax returns.

In the light of above and in the spirit of taxpayers facilitation, the Minister gave approval for extending the due date till 15th November , 2017.

October 31, 2017 (PR No. 2238)

Macro Economic Environment Promoting Corportization

Improvement in the macroeconomic environment of the country has led to increased incorporation of companies in FY 2017. The Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan incorporated 8286 companies in FY 2017 compared to 6200 companies in FY 2016. The incorporation of companies has seen tremendous increase of 109.24% growth during 2013-2017. This trend continued during current fiscal year as Q1 FY 2018 has seen 64% growth compared to the corresponding quarter last year. This is reflective of the reforms undertaken by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

These facts were placed before the SEC Policy Board which met here on Tuesday to approve the SECP's annual report and audited annual accounts for the financial year 2016-17. The Chairman, SEC Policy Board, and Federal Secretary for Finance Mr. Shahid Mahmood, chaired the meeting.

The Policy Board also viewed with satisfaction the fact that foreign investment was reported in 562 new companies, including 33 from China. This reflects that the CPEC factor has started contributing to growth. The Board also observed that the SECP's audited annual accounts for FY 2016-17 show impressive financial soundness of the regulatory body, evident from the 14% year-on-year growth in the SECP's financial strength.

In addition to the strong financial performance, the SECP carried forward its legislative reforms in the last few years, in line with the financial reform agenda of the government. The SECP was able to get 9 pieces of primary legislations passed by the parliament, including the Securities Act, the Futures Act, the Companies Act, the SECP Amendment Act etc, while 5 new bills have been proposed. The meeting was also informed that SECP successfully processed the approval/amendment in over 80 secondary rules/ regulations under laws administered by it.

The meeting noted that the SECP excelled by creating an enabling business environment through a series of reform measures that significantly improved the overall business climate in the country. As a direct consequence of the above measures a growth of 34 % in the rate of corporatization, significant and broad-based growth in the specialized companies, including asset management and microfinance areas, and finally Pakistan's upgrade from a frontier market to the emerging market category under the MSCI's Emerging Markets Index in 2017 after a gap of nine years were achieved.

Finance Secretary emphasized to continue to build upon these achievements and its facilitation based commitment to corporatization and economic growth through a combination of promoting ease of doing business and nurturing investor's confidence.

The Board hoped SECP shall also continue with its sector base reform agenda to ensure adequate growth in securities market, corporatization, insurance and specialized companies' arenas so that they can meaningfully supplement the development of Pakistan's economy by way of deepening the debt capital markets.

October 30, 2017 (PR No. 2237)

Standard & Poor's Affirms Pakistan's 'B/B' Ratings with Stable Outlook

The global rating agent Standard & Poor's Global Ratings (S&P) in its report on Monday affirmed Pakistan's 'B' long-term and short-term sovereign credit rating. The outlook for the long-term ratings remains stable.  Affirmation of Pakistan's rating reflects that economic prospects remain favourable and external and fiscal metrics of the country will not worsen materially from their current level.

Standard & Poor's expect the Government of Pakistan to continue its reform agenda and retain key economic targets while maintaining macroeconomic stability, reducing fiscal and external vulnerabilities and promoting growth supporting reforms. S&P further expects Pakistan's GDP to grow at an average of 5.7% in the period 2017 - 2020. This stronger growth projection reflects large scale investments taking place under CPEC in energy and infrastructure sectors of the economy. The report acknowledges that the present government has improved security situation in the country, narrowed infrastructure and energy gaps and reduced power shortages in the country.

The report points to higher than expected current account and fiscal account deficits in the fiscal year ended June 2017. However, the report acknowledges that current account deficit was mainly due to sharp surge in imports of machinery and fuels caused by robust domestic demand and implementation of energy and infrastructure related projects. The report expects that the external imbalances are temporary and will reverse in next two years. The report also acknowledges that the higher than expected fiscal deficit in FY17 was largely caused by higher than expected provincial spending and lower growth in tax revenue collection. The report observes that external imbalances will abate after peaking out of CPEC related investments and in the meanwhile Pakistan should benefit from the robust growth generated by investments in energy and infrastructure sectors of the economy.

The Government of Pakistan welcomes the annual rating report by Standard & Poor's as a manifestation of soundness of economic policies. Affirmation of Pakistan's better economic prospects, higher and inclusive GDP growth in coming years with stable economic outlook reflects on the economic management of the Government of Pakistan.

October 27, 2017 (PR No. 2236)

Finance Minister addressed 16th CAREC Ministerial Conference in Dushanbe

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, participated in the 16th Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Ministerial Conference in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Friday.

During his address to the Conference, the Finance Minister reiterated Pakistan’s strong commitment to the CAREC Program to improve connectivity in the region. Highlighting the geo-strategic location of Pakistan, the Minister emphasized Pakistan’s role as facilitator for connecting the regions of South Asia and Central Asia, in order to enable efficient market access, and enhance trade and investment in the region. The Minister said that Pakistan supports CAREC’s areas of focus in the sectors of energy, trade and transportation network. He also acknowledge the assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in augmenting these initiatives.

The Finance Minister endorsed the new CAREC Strategy 2030, on behalf of the Government of Pakistan. He appreciated ADB’s leadership and efforts for including the areas of cooperation offered by the Prime Minister of Pakistan during the previous CAREC Ministerial Conference held in Islamabad in October 2016. The Finance Minister also suggested further steps in this regard. He emphasized the importance of collective efforts to enhance regional cooperation and achieve the common goals envisaged under the CAREC Program.

Earlier, the President of Tajikistan, Mr. Emomali Rahmon, inaugurated the Ministerial Conference. In his address, he voiced his support for regional cooperation and integration, and assured of all out support to implement the
CAREC 2030 Strategy.

It may be noted that the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program is a partnership of 11 countries and 6 multilateral development partners working to promote development through cooperation, leading to accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction. The Program is aimed at helping Central Asian and neighbouring countries realize their potential, by promoting and facilitating regional cooperation in the priority areas of transport, trade facilitation, trade policy, and energy. The 11 countries partnering in the CAREC Program are Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, People's Republic of China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The 6 multilateral development partners of CAREC include the Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Monetary Fund, Islamic Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank. ADB serves as the CAREC Secretariat.

October 26, 2017 (PR No. 2235)

Sales Tax Refund Payment against RPOs issued up to 31st August, 2017

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar at a meeting held in Ministry of Finance on Thursday directed Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to issue sales tax refunds by 31st October, 2017, against Refund Payment Orders (RPO) issued up to 31st August, 2017.

Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue and senior officials of Ministry of Finance were present in the meeting.

The decision aims at facilitating trade, particularly exporters. A refund of Rs. 13 billion is involved in more than 4000 RPOs.

Finance Minister said that the government is mindful of the problems being faced by the business and traders community on account of liquidity and keeping this fact in view he has given instructions for refunds.

It may be added that the government has been able to contain the problem of refund pendency despite the increase in tax payers number and increase in tax payments. FBR has been trying to facilitate the businessmen so that they are encouraged to pay their taxes.

The refunds shall be paid to all segments and sectors of registered persons including exporters, textile, etc. It may further be mentioned that as per practice adopted previously, all refund amounts shall be electronically transferred to claimants’ bank accounts through the State Bank of Pakistan. This measure, he said, is aimed at enhancing transparency and facilitation and reducing contact between tax collectors and the taxpayers.

FBR has already paid sales tax refunds amounting to Rs. 27.6 billion during the current financial year. These payments were made in pursuance of the announcement by the Finance Minister in the budget speech for the year 2017-18 that taxpayers’ long outstanding demand for payment of refunds will be soon addressed and the sales tax refunds against refund payment orders (RPOs) issued up to 30th April, 2017, shall be paid in two stages. Accordingly, payments against RPOs involving amount up to Rs. 1 million were made on 15th July, 2017, and for RPOs exceeding Rs. 1 million, the payments were made on 8th August, 2017. 

October 24, 2017 (PR No. 2234)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review matters related to Economic Affairs Division

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, chaired a meeting at the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday to review matters related to the Economic Affairs Division (EAD). Secretary EAD and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and EAD attended the meeting.

Secretary EAD briefed the Minister on his participation in the Pakistan-European Union (EU) Joint Commission Meeting held in Brussels earlier this month. He informed that during the meeting the two sides welcomed continued growth in their broad-based relationship, and appreciated the implementation of the EU-Pakistan 5-year Engagement Plan (2012-17). He said that they looked forward to further deepening the relationship, especially through the Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP).

Secretary EAD also briefed the Minister on the progress of the various ongoing development projects. He apprised the Minister of ongoing negotiations with various donor agencies for finalization of projects in pipeline.

Finance Minister said that the progress of disbursement of foreign grants and loans for infrastructure and energy projects should be diligently monitored. He emphasized the need for timely disbursement of funds so that the people at large can benefit from successful and timely completion of the projects.. He urged EAD to undertake all efforts for efficient utilization of the funds. Finance Minister directed EAD to maintain close coordination with Federal Ministries as well as the Provincial Governments in this regard.

October 21, 2017 (PR No. 2233)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting on OGP initiative

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting at the Ministry of Finance regarding Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative. Finance Secretary and senior officials of the Finance Division and Economic Affairs Division (EAD) attended the meeting.

EAD officials briefed the Finance Minister on the progress of the National Action Plan (NAP) being prepared for submission to OGP. They informed the Minister that input for the NAP has been obtained from most of the stakeholders, and EAD is in the process of gathering the remaining input. The Minister was apprised that EAD has already organized a number of consultative meetings in Islamabad as well as in the provincial capitals for preparation of the National Action Plan, with the support of Federal Ministries, Provincial governments, Civil Society, Academia and other stakeholders. This includes a National Workshop held in Islamabad in July 2017.

Finance Minister directed EAD to ensure that input and commitments from all stakeholders are incorporated in the NAP. He further directed that a broader-level consultation with all stakeholders may be held prior to the submission of the NAP to the Cabinet for approval, and subsequent submission to the OGP Secretariat. The Finance Minister emphasized that the government is fully committed to ensuring transparency and adopting international standards of governance. He said that the government’s accessions to the OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters and submission of letter of intent to join OGP are proof of the government’s commitment.

It may recalled that Pakistan had already met the eligibility threshold for membership to OGP, achieving 15 out of the 16 criteria. The Finance Minister handed over Pakistan’s Letter of Intent to join OGP to the French President during the fourth biennial OGP Global Summit held in Paris in December 2016. An important requirement of OGP is for the government to develop a national action plan in consultation with civil society and private sector, and to define commitments to foster transparency, accountability and public participation in all government processes.

October 20, 2017 (PR No. 2232)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting with Tax Reforms Commission's Implementation Committee

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar on Friday had a meeting with members of Tax Reforms Commission’s (TRC) Implementation Committee, discussing the way forward for further up-gradation of the tax system.  Chairman of the TRC Implementation Committee, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue, Mr. Haroon Akhtar Khan, members of the Committee and senior officers of FBR were present on the occasion.

The Minister while appreciating the work of Tax Reforms Commission (TRC) in the form of a very comprehensive report said that it was the resolve of the Government to implement the proposed reforms which led to establishment of Tax Reforms Implementation Committee (TRIC). This Committee, he said has an important task at hand and its contribution for improvement of the tax system would be highly valued. He said prioritizing recommendations/steps having major impact in terms of revenue collection, facilitation of tax payers and effective management of the tax system, would be an ideal thing to do for effective implementation. The Committee should also categorize different proposals having immediate, short and long term implications.  The Minister said the FBR has all along extended valuable support to the TRC as well as the Implementation Committee, and the joint effort, would Inshallah yield positive results.

Chairman and Members of TRIC thanked the Finance Minister for his support and encouragement in undertaking its work in an effective manner.

Chairman FBR, speaking on the occasion, informed that the number of tax returns filed for tax year 2017 as of 18th October 2017 has reached 406,310 as compared to 192,059 filed for tax year 2016, as of 18th October 2016. Finance Minister asked the FBR officials to keep up the good work.

October 19, 2017 (PR No. 2231)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review performance of National Savings

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Thursday chaired a meeting to review the performance and other matters related to National Savings.

At the outset the Finance Minister stated that it had come to his notice that an anomaly in the tax regime had resulted in taxation of yield on Behbood Certificates and Pensioners Benefits accounts. Apparently the impact on taxation of these schemes was an unintended consequence of certain legal changes introduced in the Finance Act.  He said that he has already instructed FBR to take appropriate measures to remove the anomaly. 

DG Zafar Masud briefed the meeting on performance of the National Savings during the last one year. The briefing covered the progress made in areas like financial inclusion through automation, introduction of new products and improving the customer service and outreach.

The meeting was informed that National Savings has emerged as a formidable vehicle for financial inclusion with introduction of popular welfare oriented products and registering a large number of customers of which more than 50% were women. The efforts of National Savings are being actively supported by the World Bank and Karandaaz (DFID and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) through up-gradation of IT system, offering alternate delivery channels (cell phone, internet banking and ATM cards), Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP), Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse, capacity building and  training etc.

He said that the efforts of National Savings in promoting financial inclusion have been lauded and recognized, not only nationally but also internationally. The reputed CFI magazine UK has recently bestowed on National Savings the award for “outstanding performance in promoting financial inclusion-2017”. The award is in fact a recognition of the progress made by National Savings in the last one year on the automation front with 2/3rd of the branches having been connected online and the offering of banking clearing services to the customers.

The meeting was informed that after the successful roll out of Rs. 40,000 Premium Prize Bond (Registered), the Rs. 100,000 denomination bond is on the cards. The launch of Shuhada Families Welfare Account and extension of Behbud Saving Certificates for disabled persons is also coming up. Furthermore the Overseas Pakistanis Savings Certificates and Shariah Compliant Products are also being considered.

DG National Savings further informed that for customer facilitation, SMS Service, access through social media and revamping of the institution’s website have been carried out. He said that a complaint resolution cell has been established at the DG’s Office which disposes of public complaints on daily basis.

Finance Minister appreciated the achievements made by the National Savings in various areas particularly financial inclusion and customer outreach. He also praised the performance of the institution for surpassing the annual savings target. He assured his continued support to National Savings in achieving the objective of greater financial inclusion.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.

October 18, 2017 (PR No. 2230)

Finance Minister briefed on IMF / World Bank Annual Meetings

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting at the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday and received a briefing from Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Mr. Tariq Bajwa, and Finance Secretary, Mr. Shahid Mahmood relating to participation of Pakistan’s delegation in the recently concluded Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF.

During the briefing to the Finance Minister, Governor SBP said that the World Bank and IMF were informed by the Pakistani side that the government is focused on maintaining the economic stability achieved during the last four years, and attaining higher economic growth. He said that the measures being taken by the government to manage the current account deficit and strengthen the external account position were also conveyed during the meetings, including the Prime Minister’s Package of Incentives for Exporters and policy options being adopted to manage imports.

The Finance Secretary briefed the Finance Minister on the discussions held with the World Bank during the annual event. He said that the opportunity was utilized to hold in-depth discussions on various matters such as further economic reforms as well as Bank-supported development projects. He said that the delegation also held productive meetings with ratings agencies, banks and investors on the side-lines of the Annual Meetings regarding Pakistan’s economy.

Minister Dar expressed satisfaction at the participation and contribution of the Pakistani side during the Annual Meetings. He welcomed World Bank’s clarification relating to Pakistan’s external financing requirements, and said that the matter had caused unnecessary commotion. He said that the government is focused on achieving higher, sustainable and inclusive economic growth, in order to capitalize on the hard-earned macroeconomic stability of recent years. In this regard, he highlighted the strong fiscal performance during the first quarter of the current fiscal year. He stated that Pakistan’s external financing needs are at a sustainable level, and external inflows are expected to be sufficient to meet repayment obligations.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance also attended the meeting.

October 17, 2017 (PR No. 2229)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review progress on different draft laws

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here on Tuesday chaired a meeting to review progress on different draft laws initiated by the Ministry of Finance for enactment.
Acting Finance Secretary briefed the meeting that presently there were ten bills relating to different Laws under process at different stages.  These included Corporate Rehabilitation Bill 2017, Amendment in Bank's (Nationalization) Act 1974, Loans for Agricultural, Commercial & Industrial Purposes (Amendment) Bill 2017,  SBP-BSC Amendment Bill, 2017, The Auditor General’s Functions, Power & Terms and Conditions of Service (Amendment Bill), 2017 etc. The Acting Secretary informed that the Finance Ministry officials were assisting the National Assembly and Senate Secretariats in the processing of these legislative proposals.

The Acting Secretary also apprised the Minister regarding formulation/amendments in different Rules to make them compatible with present day requirements. These included Loans for Agriculture, Commercial & Industrial Purposes Rules, 1973,  Draft Investor Education & Awareness Fund Rules, 2017 and Rules under the Financial Institutions (secured transaction) Act, 2016. He said that substantial progress had been made in the recent weeks and the work in this regard would be completed soon.

The Minister stated that the legislative proposals were part of the reform agenda of the government and their timely completion must be ensured. He directed the officials to keep close liaison with the Ministry of Parlaiamentary Affairs and Secretariats of National Assembly and the Senate in this regard.
Senior officials  of the Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.

October 17, 2017 (PR No. 2228)

ADB Executive Director called on Finance Minister

Asian Development Bank (ADB) Executive Director, Mr. Sami Saeed on Tuesday called on Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar at the Ministry of Finance and discussed matters related to ADB’s various projects and programmes in Pakistan.

The Minister was informed that due to the improved credit ratings of Pakistan and the economic reforms carried out by the government during the last 4 years, Asian Development Bank had increased their country exposure limit for private sector operations in Pakistan from US$700 million to US$1.7 billion. This would make available additional resources to the private sector in Pakistan. Executive Director ADB said that the disbursement of the contracted sovereign credits was currently at a historical level. 

Minister Dar appreciated ADB’s continued support for development programmes in Pakistan. He recalled his recent meeting with the ADB President Mr. Takaheki Nakao in Urumqi, China and asked Mr. Sami Saeed to follow up with the ADB management to take the matters further in the light of the discussions held during the meeting.

October 16, 2017 (PR No. 2227)

Press Conference by Finance Minister - 16-10-2017

October 16, 2017 (PR No. 2226)

Finance Minister has expressed deep sense of sorrow and grief over the sad demise of former Chief Justice, Supreme Court, Mr. Ajmal Mian

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has expressed deep sense of sorrow and grief over the sad demise of former Chief Justice, Supreme Court, Mr. Ajmal Mian.

In his  message of condolence, the Minister said that losing a dear one in the family is indeed the most poignant time in one's life which cannot be described in 

words. He prayed that May Allah rest the departed soul in peace and grant courage to the bereaved family to bear this immense loss. 

October 15, 2017 (PR No. 2225)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review matters related to FBR and Finance Division

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, chaired a meeting at the Ministry of Finance on Sunday to review matters related to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Finance Division. Chairman FBR and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and FBR participated in the meeting.

Acting Finance Secretary briefed the Finance Minister on the progress of the various ongoing initiatives of the Ministry of Finance. He said that efforts were in hand to make sure that the strong fiscal performance of first quarter is maintained during the second quarter and beyond. Acting Finance Secretary also briefed the Minister on the estimates of gross external financing needs during the current fiscal year. He said that a recently published World Bank Report had erroneously indicated Pakistan’s gross external financing needs at US$ 31 billion for the current fiscal year. He said that the Report is based on misinterpretation of standard definition of the gross financing needs of the country. Based on the international reporting standards, Pakistan’s actual gross financing need for FY 2017-18 is estimated atUS$18 billion (5.3% of GDP) rather than $31 billion (9% of GDP). He informed the Minister that the matter has been taken up with the World Bank to rectify the error. The Minister was informed that external inflows are expected to be sufficient to meet repayment obligations. Acting Finance Secretary said that, in the first two months of current financial year, exports and remittances have improved and imports have slowed down.

The Finance Minister directed the Finance Division to proactively work with the World Bank to ensure correct reporting of economic data. He also directed to ensure timely and effective implementation of the various ongoing initiatives of the Ministry.

Chairman FBR briefed the Finance Minister regarding the progress in Taxpayer’s outreach programme launched by FBR on the instructions of FM for broadening of tax base. He informed that senior officers of FBR are holding workshops on e-filing of returns for members of tax bars, professional bodies and chambers of commerce and industry. Large corporate employers have been approached for ensuring filing of returns by all employees receiving taxable salary. Help desks have been established in tax offices throughout the country and FBR’s helpline and website have been revamped to facilitate return filing. Chairman FBR informed the Finance Minister that the efforts in this direction are yielding results and up to 13th October more than 352,000 returns have been received as against 162,000 returns received up to the same date last year. The Minister was further informed that specialized Broadening of Tax Base (BTB) zones will become fully operational w.e.f 1st November 2017.

Finance Minister expressed his satisfaction on the progress made by FBR and stated that the last date for filing of returns was extended to 31st October, based on the genuine demands from tax professionals and trade organizations. He said that given this facilitation which has been extended to trade bodies and taxpayers, FBR should now work closely with representative bodies to ensure that returns due for the current year are filed by 31st October 2017.

October 09, 2017 (PR No. 2224)

Government closes first quarter on strong Fiscal Performance

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting at the Ministry of Finance on Monday to review fiscal out turns of the first quarter (July to September) of current fiscal year. Finance Secretary presented provisional data on fiscal operations during the meeting, and stated that the first quarter has closed on strong fiscal performance.

Finance Secretary stated that as per the provisional data, the FBR tax collections remained robust. Total collections of Rs.765 billion during July-September 2017 demonstrated growth of over 20% as compared to collections in the first quarter of last year. Because of higher tax collections, the amounts transferred to the provinces also increased substantially. As compared to transfers of Rs.416 billion last year this year the total transfers have so far reached Rs.570 billion, including arrears.

The meeting was informed that on the expenditure side, the Federal Government maintained strict fiscal discipline. As against total expenditure of Rs.914 billion in first quarter last year, the Federal Government spent Rs.894 billion in the first quarter this year. This was despite the fact that increased investments were carried out through the development budget.

The overall budget deficit was recorded at Rs.324 billion in the first quarter this year as compared to Rs.438 billion in the same period last year. This was made possible through robust tax collections and lower expenditure. In terms of GDP, the overall deficit decreased to 0.9% in the first quarter of current financial year as compared to 1.3% recorded in the first quarter of last year. Reduced fiscal deficit means lower public debt accumulation which supports alignment to targets defined in the amended Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitations Act.

The Finance Minister expressed satisfaction with the growth in revenue collections by the FBR and appreciated the measures taken to achieve fiscal prudence in the first quarter. The Finance Minister reiterated the government’s resolve of continuation on the path of fiscal discipline. He directed officials to ensure achievement of fiscal targets in the remaining three quarters of the current fiscal year.

While commending inflation containment, low interest rates, positive and strong growth in large-scale manufacturing, recent increase in exports and remittances, the Finance Minister stressed on the need to maintain focus on acceleration of economic growth for continued reduction in unemployment and poverty.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.

October 02, 2017 (PR No. 2223)

Signing ceremony for modern tax payment system held

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, witnessed  signing ceremony for a modern tax payment system between the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and 1-Link at the Ministry of Finance on Monday. The modern system will enable payment of taxes through Alternate Delivery Channels (ADCs). A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for launching a pilot project for payment of taxes / duties on cross border trade, and an Agreement for payment of domestic taxes were signed during the ceremony. The MoU and Agreement were signed by Governor SBP, Mr. Tariq Bajwa, Chairman FBR, Mr. Tariq Pasha, and senior representative of 1-Link, Mr.Najeeb Agrawalla. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue, Mr. Haroon Akhtar Khan was also present on the occasion.

Welcoming signing of the MoU and Agreement, the Finance Minister said that mode of payment of taxes has an important role to play in increasing tax revenues and compliance by taxpayers. He said that the modern system for payment through ADCs is an important tax reform for further facilitating the taxpayer and increasing revenue collections.

The Minister was informed that technological advancements have enhanced the efficiency and credibility of tax payment systems. After the launch of ADCs payment facility using E-Payment System, taxpayers will have the option to make tax payments 24/7 through ATMs, online banking or mobile applications.

This will enable taxpayers to avoid long queues for tax payments at bank branches, save time and reduce the cost of doing business. It has been a priority of the current government to reduce the cost of doing business and make tax compliance easier for taxpayers in compliance with the spirit of Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the WTO and Ease of Doing Business of the World Bank.

The ADCs payment system will help SBP save billions of rupees which are currently paid as annual service charges for revenue collection. The ADCs would also ensure real-time transfer of funds to the national exchequer, enable FBR to report accurate collection of taxes on real time basis, and avoid the need for cumbersome reconciliations. The modern payment system will also enable a more conducive environment for e-commerce in Pakistan.

October 02, 2017 (PR No. 2222)

FBR registers more than 20% revenue growth

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, has shown his satisfaction on the provisional revenue collection figures for the quarter ended 30th September 2017, and has expressed confidence that the same trend shall continue and the entire team of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) would not leave any stone unturned for achievement of assigned target during the remaining part of the fiscal year.

Chairman FBR briefed the Finance Minister on the revenue collection effort and informed that the Board has clocked an unprecedented provisional revenue collection of over Rs. 765 billion for the first quarter of the fiscal year by recording an increase of more than 20% over the revenue collected during the corresponding period of last fiscal year. The provisional collection for the month of September 2017 shows an increase of 20% over the collection for September 2016 which depicts a substantial improvement over the growth of 0.8% registered in the monthly collection last year. During fiscal year 2016-17, the collection for the first quarter stood at Rs. 634 billion as against the figure of Rs. 765 billion collected this year.

During September 2017, according to the provisional figures received so far, FBR has made a net collection of more than Rs. 315 billion as against Rs. 263 billion collected during September 2016. The revenue collection trend during the first three months of the financial year augurs well for the efforts of FBR towards achievement of the assigned annual revenue targets.

The Finance Minister was informed that, contrary to certain press reports based on unconfirmed and unreliable sources, FBR has achieved quarterly growth of over 20% during July-September 2017, whereas the required annual growth for achieving the assigned target was 19.4%. To put the performance in perspective, it may be noted that the growth of over 20% over the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year has been recorded against 6.6% growth achieved during July-September 2016 over the corresponding period of fiscal year 2015-16. The increase in growth of revenue collection becomes even more impressive when viewed in context of an increase of more than 110% in the amount of refunds issued in the first quarter of the current year as compared to the first quarter of the preceding year.

September 30, 2017 (PR No. 2221)

Petroleum Prices for October 2017 announced

The Government has announced the prices of petroleum products for the period starting from 1st October 2017 until midnight on 31st October 2017.

On the basis of the prevailing prices in the international market, OGRA recommended an increase of Rs. 2.35/Litre in the price of MS 92 RON Petrol, increase of Rs. 2.17/Litre in the price of High Speed Diesel (HSD), increase of Rs. 19.32/Litre in the price of Kerosene Oil, and increase of Rs. 14.09/Litre in the price of Light Diesel Oil (LDO), with effect from 1st October 2017.

After considering the proposal of OGRA, the Prime Minister has decided that the prices of HSD, MS 92 RON Petrol and LDO will be increased by Rs. 2.00/Litre each, while the price of Kerosene Oil will be increased by Rs. 4.00/Litre, with effect from 1st October 2017 until midnight on 31st October 2017. As a result, the new prices will be as follows:


New price w.e.f. 1st October 2017

MS 92 RON Petrol

Rs. 73.50 / Litre

High Speed Diesel (HSD)

Rs. 79.40 / Litre

Light Diesel Oil (LDO)

Rs. 46.00 / Litre

Kerosene Oil

Rs. 48.00 / Litre

September 28, 2017 (PR No. 2220)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review progress of revenue collection, return filing

Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting on Thursday at the Ministry of Finance to review the progress of revenue collection, return filing and awareness campaign undertaken by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). Chairman FBR, senior Members of FBR, and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance were present in the meeting.

Chairman FBR briefed the Finance Minister on revenue collection in the month of September 2017 and the first quarter of FY 2018, i.e. July-September 2017. He apprised the Minister of that FBR is on-course to achieve the tax revenue target for FY 2018. The Finance Minister expressed satisfaction over the revenue collection efforts being made by FBR.

Chairman FBR also briefed the Finance Minister regarding the awareness campaign being run by FBR to educate and convince taxpayers to fulfil their legal tax obligations. He said that the campaign has started to translate into results as the number of returns received upto 28th September 2017 has increased to 178,945 compared with 54,086 returns received till the same date in September 2016. The Finance Minister appreciated the successful awareness campaign of FBR and the resulting increase in compliance by taxpayers.

During the meeting, it was decided that the period of applicability of reduced rate of 0.4% withholding tax on banking transactions for non-filers shall be extended from 30th September 2017 to 31st December 2017. The Finance Minister directed FBR to complete the due process in this regard.

September 13, 2017 (PR No. 2219)

Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review progress of revenue collection

Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs and Revenue, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar on Wednesday chaired a high level meeting at Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to review progress of revenue collection in the current fiscal year.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue, Haroon Akhtar was also present.

Chairman FBR gave the meeting an update on the state of revenue collection in July-August 2017-18. He informed that over 24% growth in gross revenue has been registered in the first two months as compared to the corresponding period in FY 2016-17. He added that as against Rs. 17 billion worth of refunds paid in July-August last fiscal year, Rs. 36 billion have been refunded in the first two months of the current fiscal year. The net collection after refunds shows increase of 21.02%, over the last year.

The Finance Minister was also apprised about FBR’s robust awareness campaign utilizing electronic as well as social media for sensitizing existing as well as potential taxpayers to file their returns by the due date which is 30th September, 2017. The Finance Minister was briefed that active liaison is being maintained with, corporate employers to ensure maximum filing of income tax returns. In the next phase trade bodies, tax bars and Chambers of Commerce & Trade will be engaged to facilitate and ensure filing of maximum number of returns. 

The Finance Minister appreciated FBR’s efforts for revenue collection in July-August period of FY 2017-18 and said the spirit with which the whole FBR team had worked together is already showing good results. He emphasized on concerted efforts for broadening the tax base and said people must be provided proper facilitation to contribute their due share to national exchequer. He called upon officials of the FBR to put in their best to achieve the overall targets for the current fiscal year. The Minister added that Government aimed to achieve sustainable economic growth and FBR's role in this respect is very important. 

September 08, 2017 (PR No. 2218)

Finance Minister met with President ADB

Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs held a meeting with Mr. Takehiko Nakao, President ADB here. Various matters related to  ADB financed development projects in different sectors came under discussion.  

Finance Minister appreciated ADB's support to the CAREC initiative which was helping to bring the member countries closer through cooperation in areas like trade and transportation. He said that regional connectivity was extremely important for the member countries of CAREC as this region has lacked regional trade and cooperation in the past compared to other regions in the world. He said that ADB's support to CAREC Institute was also commendable and hoped that the Institute will play its due role in devising innovative solutions for regional development issues.   

Mr. Nakao thanked the Minister for his continued encouragement for ADB supported initiatives in Pakistan and assured to further enhance the level of cooperation in the years to come. He said that ADB would continue to lend financial and technical support to the CAREC member countries wishing to enhance regional cooperation. He said that there was immense potential for regional connectivity projects in the CAREC region.  

Finance Minister and President ADB also discussed matters related to various on-going ADB funded projects in Pakistan as well those in the pipeline.

September 08, 2017 (PR No. 2217)

Finance Minister met with Finance Minister of China

Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, held a meeting with Mr. Xiao Jie, Finance Minister of China here. The two leaders discussed various issues of mutual interest including ways and means to further enhance the bilateral economic relations. 

Minister Jie welcomed Ishaq Dar on his visit to China. He said that senior level exchanges between the two neighbors have been helpful in furthering the objectives of strong bilateral relationship. He appreciated the efforts of the government of Pakistan for timely implementation of CPEC projects. He also thanked Minister Dar for Pakistan's support to the CAREC Institute in Urumqi and expressed the hope that Pakistani professionals will also continue to extend support to the Institute in future. 

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that Pak-China strategic relationship is an anchor for regional peace and stability. He said that Pakistan-China friendship enjoys across-the- board political, institutional and popular support in Pakistan. He said that the bilateral relationship has further strengthened through the launch of the CPEC initiative, which will bring the two countries even closer. He congratulated Minister Jie on the inauguration of CAREC Institute and said that Pakistan would continue to actively participate in the activities of the Institue just as it had extended full support during the process of establishment of the Institute.

September 07, 2017 (PR No. 2216)

Mr. Shohrat Zakir, Governor of Xinjiang Province called on the Finance Minister

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar arrived in Urumqi, China Thursday for attending the inaugural ceremony of the Central Asian Region Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Institute.    

Mr. Shohrat Zakir, Governor of Xinjiang Province called on the Finance Minister and extended him a warm welcome. He said that the friendship between China and Pakistan is time tested and the best of the relationships between any two countries of the world. The visit by the Finance Minister and his delegation to Xinjiang Province would further enhance the level of cooperation not only between the two governments but also between the people of Xinjiang and people of the bordering areas of Gilgit –Baltistan in Pakistan. He  said that the establishment of CAREC Institute would provide a research and knowledge sharing  platform  for the people of two countries to explore new  avenues of development.

Finance Minister thanked the Governor for his hospitality and congratulated him for successful inauguration of the CAREC Institute. He said that Pakistan-China friendship enjoys across the board political, institutional and popular support in Pakistan that is unique and sets it apart from relationships with other countries. Xinjiang Province is contiguous with Pakistan’s Northern Areas and having historical, cultural and trade links, which needs further strengthening to declare the same as the Gateway between the two countries. He also emphasized on development of rail linkages between the bordering cities of the two countries. The Minister thanked the Governor for permission to Habib Bank Limited for opening up its branch in Urumqi. He stated that given the ever-increasing number of Pakistani businessmen engaged in trade in the province of Xinjiang, opening of a Consulate is also a priority for the Government of Pakistan. 

September 07, 2017 (PR No. 2215)

Pakistan committed to objective of regional connectivity - Finance Minister

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that Pakistan is committed to the objective of regional connectivity as it believes that the future of people of the region lies in greater connectivity with each other’s markets. 

The Minister was addressing Inaugural Session of CAREC Institute here Thursday.

The Finance Minister said that Pakistan seeks to expand trade and investment links with the region in the East, West and Central Asia. It aims to expand oil and gas pipelines, infrastructure, electricity grids and transport networks with these regions so as to create employment opportunities and accelerate growth. Minister Dar called upon the member countries to expedite work on the proposals made by the Prime Minister of Pakistan to accelerate cooperation among the member states in the areas of Aviation, Capital Markets and Capacity Development.

Reiterating Pakistan’s strong commitment to the CAREC Program, Ishaq Dar said that enhanced regional cooperation will play a vital role in Pakistan’s economic success in the future. Referring to the CPEC initiative he said that it is a milestone in regional connectivity which will not only benefit Pakistan and China but the whole region and beyond. He complimented the Chinese leadership for the One Belt One Road initiative as well as its role in the establishment of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), as a new multilateral institution to address the infrastructure financing needs of countries in the Asian continent.

Finance Minister described the Inauguration of the CAREC Institute as a major step in enhancing regional cooperation and achieving the common goals envisioned under the CAREC Program. He thanked the Government of the People’s Republic of China, the Government of the Xinjiang Uyghur Region, and the people of China for their warm reception and generous hospitality in the vibrant city of Urumqi, and also for hosting the CAREC Institute. He also appreciated the efforts of Asian Development Bank, under the leadership of President Nakao, and CAREC members for the institutional support to CAREC, and for making this important event possible.


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