Press Releases/Media
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June 20, 2018 (PR No. 2310)

Moody's Investor Service reaffirms Pakistan's ratings

Moody’s Investor Service, on June 20, 2018 reaffirmed Pakistan’s local and foreign currency long-term issuer and unsecured debt ratings as B3. While reaffirming the credit rating, Moody’s has appreciated Pakistan’s robust growth potential, supported by ongoing improvements in energy supply and infrastructure which have the potential to raise economic competitiveness over time. The outlook has, however, been changed to Negative on account of factors which may impact the external account situation.

The Government is fully aware of the challenges facing its external account and short to medium term remedial measures are already being put in place. To curtail aggregate demand, interest rate has been enhanced by 75 basis points since January 2018. The added exchange rate flexibility is expected to contribute towards containing the current account deficit.As exports pick up, 13.3 percent increase in July-April period, and CPEC related imports peak out, the current account deficit is expected to peak this year and decline in the coming years.FDI and remittances have also rebounded with an increase of 2.5 percent and 3.9 percent respectively during current financial year.The Government has also successfully decelerated the import bill through imposition of regulatory duties on non-essential and luxury items. Following clearance from the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the recently announced Amnesty Scheme is also expected to bring additional inflows. The country has sufficient foreign exchange reserves to meet its obligations on account of external debt repayments.

The Government is fully committed to maintain sound policies with the aim of sustaining macroeconomic stability and accelerating economic growth. The growth trajectory achieved over recent years is testimony to the success of the Government’s reforms agenda. Heavy investments in the energy and infrastructure sectors under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), keeping inflationary pressure to levels below 4 percent, achieving fiscal discipline and introducing greater transparency are some of the highlights of the recent past.

The Government is, therefore, confident of the outlook on its external account.
 
June 19, 2018 (PR No. 2309)

Finance Minister chaired a high level meeting at FBR

Finance Minister, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar chaired a high level meeting at the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) here on Tuesday.

During the meeting Chairman FBR briefed the Minister about the progress of the Tax Amnesty Scheme and the current state of revenue generation. He said that moral suasion has been the hallmark of FBR’s drive to encourage people to declare their assets at home and abroad and contribute to the national exchequer. He said overall there has been positive response to the amnesty scheme and it would have significant bearing on revenue generation. The Chairman shared with the Minister details about the task carried out by the Tax Reforms Committee over a period of time, making recommendations and proposals for reformation of the tax regime. He also apprised her about the working of the High Powered Implementation Committee which has seen to it that recommendations for tax reforms are prioritized in terms of their utility and implemented in letter and spirit.

Finance Minister, while reiterating that the date for the amnesty scheme would not be extended, urged senior FBR officials to keep up efforts for best possible results under the scheme. She also emphasized effectively utilizing public liaison/advertisement campaign during remainder of the scheme’s validity period to take the scheme to a meaningful and conclusive end.

The Minister also on this occasion called upon FBR to come up with measures, particularly those for simplification of filing of returns and automation that can help enhance revenue generation. She also highlighted the need for installation of quality scanners at all the ports, completely replacing physical checking for Customs clearance, a step that she said would help boost revenue.

Members of the Tax Reforms Committee and senior officials of the FBR  attended the meeting.
 
June 11, 2018 (PR No. 2308)

Petroleum Prices for the month of June 2018

Click here for Petroleum Prices for the Month of June 2018

 
June 07, 2018 (PR No. 2307)

Mr.Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Director World Bank called on the Finance Minister

Mr.Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Director World Bank called on the Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Planning Development and Reforms Dr. Shamshad Akhtar on Thursday.

Mr. Illangovan felicitated the Finance Minister on assuming her new responsibilities and assured of all possible cooperation from the bank in important development projects.

Finance Minister thanked Mr. Illangovan for his best wishes and said that with the valuable support from our development partners our journey for the development of the country will continue in future.

 
June 06, 2018 (PR No. 2306)

Finance Minister Dr. Shamshad Akhtar chaired a meeting to review the performance of FBR

Dr. Shamshad Akhtar , the Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Planning and Development chaired a meeting here on Wednesday to review the performance of the Federal Board of Revenue in the current financial Year (2017-2018).

Chairman FBR, Mr. Tariq Mehmood Pasha, felicitated the Minister on assuming her new responsibilities and gave a detailed presentation on the measures so far being taken by the Federal Board of Revenue to achieve the tax collection targets, the major steps taken by FBR to facilitate the tax payers and the key achievements of FBR during the last five year’s period.

The Chairman briefed the Minister that the tax to GDP ratio has increased from 8.7% in 2012-13 to 12.4% of GDP in 2017-18. He told that the number of tax return filers have almost doubled to 1.4 million till 2017-18 and worth Rs.300 billion of SROs have been eliminated as a major reform to broaden the tax system. He also said that for the facilitation of the tax payers their CNIC has been adopted as the National Tax Number and the number of tax slabs have been reduced to 4 from 7. He also mentioned the queue management system for the Sales Tax Refund and direct transfer of sales tax refunds into tax payer’s accounts as major reforms to upgrade the tax system in the country.

The Minister during the meeting discussed the overall macro-economic condition of the country and the importance of FBR as the major revenue generation source for the Government’s operations. The Minister stressed the need to improve Tax to GDP ratio of the country to fund the development projects. She also sought the feedback from the FBR Chief on the impact of different amnesty schemes and tax rebates offered by the previous government on the revenue collection targets. The Minister also stressed the need for the up-gradation of the tax system through the use of technology. After the meeting, the Minister directed Chairman FBR to make all possible effort to achieve the revenue collection targets this year. The Chairman assured the Minister of his all possible cooperation on the matter.

The meeting was attended by senior officers of Ministry of Finance and Federal Board of Revenue.

 
May 24, 2018 (PR No. 2305)

Finance Secretary chaired a meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee

The Finance Secretary while chairing the National Price Monitoring Committee meeting here took notice of consecutive rise in SPI which monitors the prices of essential commodities on a weekly basis and desired that the provincial governments should be more vigilant in controlling prices. Their district prices control committees should play a pro-active role in checking the prices and see undue profiteering is not taking place. He also asked the Competition Commission of Pakistan to remain vigilant that no cartelization takes place.

The Chair also emphasized for additional administrative measures that prices remain under control and that the coverage of sasta/itwar bazaars for the benefits of masses should be extended. The provincial governments and other stakeholders may remain vigilant to avoid any supply shortage. Any anticipated shortfall in supply may be addressed immediately to avoid price hike.

The meeting was informed that Punjab Government has placed an excellent model for checking and controlling the prices particularly through video links in different districts. The other provinces are also making efforts in the same direction and should follow the same model.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhthunkhwa, Islamabad Capital Territory, Ministries of Industries, Commerce, National Food Security and Research, Planning Development and Reforms, Inter Provincial Coordination, Statistics Division, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Utility Stores Corporation and Federal Board of Revenue.

 
May 21, 2018 (PR No. 2304)

Moody's reaffirms Pakistan's credit profile as B3 Stable

Moody’s Investor Service, one of the world’s most respected and widely utilized credit rating agency, on May 18, 2018, reaffirmed Pakistan’s credit profile as B3 stable. The reaffirmation is based on the country’s strong growth performance and potential, a relatively large economy and the sustained reforms programme undertaken by the Government in the last five years. Moody’s credit analysis also highlights the greater transparency which Pakistan has achieved in its economic field besides keeping inflationary pressure to low levels and investing heavily in the energy and infrastructure sectors under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). 

The stable outlook reflects the country’s potential to further strengthen its growth beyond current levels with successful implementation of CPEC projects, cashing in on both foreign and domestic investments, continued robust activity of large scale manufacturing and a rebounding agriculture sector all of which would aid Pakistan to shift to a higher growth trajectory on sustained basis.

Moody’s in its report also highlights the size of Pakistan’s economy, with a nominal GDP of $305 billion in fiscal 2017 – the third largest among sovereigns in B rating category – which affords the country resilience to local and external shocks. Pakistan also fares better in GDP growth among its peers with 5.8 percent growth in fiscal 2018, as compared to the median 2017 growth of 3.8 percent among B rated sovereigns.

The report refers to implementation of structural reforms and the fiscal discipline achieved by the country in recent years. Moody’s expects fiscal deficit to remain around 5.5 percent of GDP in fiscal 2018 on the back of strong revenue collection in the first six months which witnessed a 20 percent rise as compared to the corresponding year-earlier period. 

Some areas where the country requires renewing its focus are increasing the revenue base, investing in social sectors, improving competiveness, reinvigorating privatization and managing debt profile astutely. The future outlook, however, bodes well for Pakistan as the reform agenda continues and key targets of macroeconomic stability, fiscal discipline and growth supporting initiatives continue on track. Moody’s expect the country to maintain the growth momentum in the next fiscal also.

Government of Pakistan welcomes the re-affirmation of Pakistan’s sovereign rating by Moody’s Investors Service. It shows that Pakistan’s economy, despite challenges, is on a stable path to a higher growth trajectory.

 
May 11, 2018 (PR No. 2303)

Government of Pakistan Launches Shuhadas Family Welfare Account (SFWA) Scheme

Government of Pakistan has announced a Scheme to benefit the families of Shuhadas who offered sacrifices in the war on terrorism. The scheme was announced during the Budget speech for year 2017-2018. The beneficiaries include the families of Shuhadas of armed forces, law enforcement agencies and civilians. Scheme envisages payment of profit to an eligible family member of Shuhadas at a rate equivalent to given on Behbood Savings Certificates. Moreover, the profit is exempt from deduction of Withholding Tax.

The National Savings Organization framed rules under the guidance of Finance Division, which have been approved by the Federal Government and notified by the Finance Division on 11 May, 2018. The scheme will be implemented by National Savings Organization.

It is estimated that families of more than 27,000 Shuhadas can benefit from the scheme.

 
May 01, 2018 (PR No. 2302)

Finance Minister says criticism by Peoples Party leadership in regard to petroleum prices unjustified

Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Dr. Miftah Ismail has said that the criticism by Peoples Party leadership on the petroleum prices is unjustified. He said that the prices of petroleum products, even after the recent raise, are still lower than those during the Peoples Party regime. He said that the level of taxation of these products in most cases is also lower than that prevalent in the Peoples Party days.

He said that the Petrol price in March 2013 was Rs. 106.60, Diesel Rs. 113.56, SKO Rs.103.69 and LDO Rs. 98.26.  Despite the consistent increase in international oil prices during the last year, the prices in Pakistan are still considerably less than those levels set in the PPP days.

He said that PMLN government had brought about a huge change in the economic conditions of the country and if the opposition, including PTI and PPP had cooperated instead of creating hurdles in the way of economic development of the country, things would have been even better for the common man.
 
April 30, 2018 (PR No. 2301)

Petroleum Prices for the month of May 2018

The following rates of different petroleum products have been approved for the month of May 2018:

Product

New Prices w.e.f 1-5-18
Rs. per litre

Motor Spirit (MS)92 RON Petrol

87.70

Diesel (HSD)

98.76

 Kerosene Oil (SKO)

79.87

Light Diesel Oil (LDO)

68.85

OGRA had proposed increase in the price of Petrol by Rs. 3.22 per litre, HSD, by Rs. 5.02 per litre, SKO by Rs 6.97 per litre and LDO by Rs. 6.95 per litre. However despite a tight fiscal environment, the Prime Minister declined to pass on the full impact of the increase in prices to the consumers and decided that the government will absorb almost 50% of the impact of increase.

Accordingly, the price of Petrol has been increased by Rs.1.70 per litre, HSD by Rs.2.31 per litre, SKO by Rs. 3.41 per litre and that of LDO by Rs. 3.55 per litre. So the new prices will be Petrol Rs.87.70 per litre, HSD Rs. 98.76 per litre, SKO Rs. 79.87 per litre and LDO Rs. 68.85 per litre as also indicated in the table above.
   
The prices will be effective from 1st of May 2018 till midnight on 31st May 2018.

 
April 25, 2018 (PR No. 2300)

Pakistan Economic Survey 2017-18 being launched on Thursday 26th April 2018

The Launching Ceremony of Pakistan Economic Survey (2017-18) will be held on Thursday, 26th April, 2018.

The document shall provide an overview of the national economy, highlighting performance and achievements in different sectors during the current fiscal year.

The ceremony being organized at the P Block, Pak Sectt, shall commence at 1730 hrs. The launching of the Economic Survey marks the opening of budget related events including the presentation of budget 2018-19 on Friday 27th April and the post-budget media interaction on Saturday, 28th April 2018.

 
April 20, 2018 (PR No. 2299)

Adviser to PM on Finance participated in the IMF / World Bank spring meetings 2018 at Washington

Visiting Pakistan delegation led by Dr Miftah Ismail, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs participated in the IMF / World Bank spring meetings 2018 at Washington. The delegation  attended a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the main event.

These included a meeting with Mr Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director of IMF and his team on Pakistan’s economic performance; a discussion of Pakistan’s ongoing World bank engagements with the World Bank team led by Ms Ethel Sennhauser, Vice President for South Asia region and a review of IFC’s project portfolio and potential initiatives in Pakistan with the IFC team led by Ms Snezena Stoiljkovic, Vice President for South Asia. 

The Adviser briefed the World Bank and IMF officials about the current economic situation. He pointed out that Pakistan was set to achieve high GDP growth rate during the current year again and was hoping to maintain this momentum in the coming years due to robust performance of the real sector of the economy. He also drew attention to improvement in the country’s exports resulting from various policy initiatives implemented by the government.

On the sidelines, the Advisor also met Mr Takehiko Nakao, President of the Asian Development Bank and discussed Pakistan’s portfolio and future development initiatives where ADB could assist the government of Pakistan. President ADB assured the Advisor of the Bank’s continuous support and role as Pakistan’s major development partner. He also invited the Advisor to attend ADB board of governors meeting in Manila next month.

In the meeting with the Afghan Finance Minister Mr Eklil Hakimi, the two sides discussed various issues adversely impacting trade flows between the two countries and agree to set up working groups to resolve them. The first joint meeting is expected to take place in early May. The Adviser also spoke on the development impact of the Belt and Road Initiative in Pakistan in a high-
level roundtable chaired by the World Bank President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim.

The delegation accompanying the Adviser Finance includes Governor State Bank and Secretary Economic Affairs Division. 

Pakistan’s Alternate Executive Director at the World Bank and Economic Minister at the Embassy of
Pakistan in Washington DC also assisted the delegation.

 
April 10, 2018 (PR No. 2298)

Adviser to PM on Finance chaired a meeting to review proposals for revival of film industry in the country

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail here on Tuesday chaired a meeting to review proposals for revival of film industry in the country.

Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage, Marriyum Aurangzeb  briefed the meeting about various steps envisaged for betterment of the film industry and also outlined financial requirements for the same.

In her remarks the Minster said that it was high time that the important medium of film was accorded its due importance and fully utilized to project the true cultural identity and soft image of the country, particularly at the international level. Besides projection of the country’s vast cultural wealth, the medium of film, like many other countries could also serve as a contributor to the national economy, the Minister emphasized. Among others, she highlighted establishment of a film financing fund, easing out of tax regime on film production, facilitation in establishment of production studios as key steps that could help in revival of the realm of film making and take it at the height of glory that it once enjoyed in the golden era of 60s .

Adviser Miftah Ismail on the occasion said that undoubtedly film was a an effective medium for the projection of national heritage. He appreciated the steps and initiatives by the Ministry of Information for re-emergence of the film industry and assured of all possible support in the matter. Besides, promotion of film industry would also provide greater opportunities to our artists to show their true merit, he said. He added that Pakistan artists had earned great name for the country abroad and they deserved good opportunities to excel at home also.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage attended the meeting.

 
April 10, 2018 (PR No. 2297)

Adviser to PM on Finance has expressed satisfaction on the latest economic indicators

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue & Economic Affairs, Dr. Miftah Ismail has expressed satisfaction on the latest economic indicators.

In a statement here on Tuesday he said that the economy has registered a 13 years high growth at 5.79 percent in FY2018. It may be recalled that the economy had stagnated during 2008-13 with an average growth rate of 2.82 percent. Due to the policies pursued by the PML-N government, the growth rate improved to 4.05% in the first year and has since maintained an upward trajectory, culminating in the current years’ highest growth rate of 5.79 percent. The average increase during the last five years has been 4.76%.

Industrial sector maintained its upward growth trajectory at 5.8 percent. This is the highest level of growth in the last 10 years. Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) touched 6.13 percent growth during the first eight months of the CFY, which is the highest in last 11 years. The contribution of sugar production, where crushing started later than usual, is likely to further improve the final numbers for the year.

Agriculture sector has also preformed impressively and achieved 3.8 percent growth which is again the highest in the last 13 years. Production of all major crops registered significant growth.

The services sector has achieved 6.43 percent growth during current fiscal year. It is the second year in a row that its growth is above 6 percent.

Inflation is contained at 3.85 percent during first nine months of current fiscal year. The government has therefore been successful in achieving its objective of high growth and low inflation. The containment of inflation is due to effective monetary and stabilization policies adopted by the government. The current trend suggests that, inflation will remain below the target of 6 percent during current fiscal year.

The Adviser noted that the external sector was also improving with the exports gradually picking up and growth in imports slowing down. He said that during March 2018 exports had shown a 24 percent growth year on year, while imports had increased by 6 percent. At the same time foreign remittances were also maintaining the increasing trend.   

If these trends continue, the foreign exchange reserve position, at the end of the current financial year, could be better than the current projections, the Adviser said.

 
April 07, 2018 (PR No. 2296)

Adviser to PM on Finance chaired a meeting on Overseas Pakistanis Savings Certificate

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr. Miftah Ismail, chaired a meeting here Saturday to review the proposal regarding launching of Overseas Pakistanis Savings Certificate (“OPSC”) by National Savings (NS) to non-resident Pakistanis.

Mr. Zafar Masud, Director General NS briefed the adviser about the progress made on the OPSCs. He informed that necessary regulatory and legal due diligence have already been completed by the NS Consultant Consortium (EY Ford Rhodes, Haidermota BNR & Co and Al Tamimi & Co).  He also briefed about the salient feature of the OPSCs particularly eligibility, cost and investment limits for the proposed certificate.

Tentative timeline for launching the proposed product was also discussed in detail keeping in view the ideal economic scenario complimenting the product launch. 

Adviser Finance appreciated the progress made by the National Savings in this regard and directed to make all possible efforts to launch OPSCs by May-2018.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and National Savings along with consultant (EY Rords Rhodes) attended the meeting.
 
April 06, 2018 (PR No. 2295)

Adviser to PM on Finance chaired a meeting of Monetary and Fiscal Policies Co-ordination Board

The Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Dr. Miftah Ismail Chaired the meeting of Monetary and Fiscal Policies Coordination Board on Friday. The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Chairman Panning Commission, Finance Secretary, Governor SBP, Acting Secretary Commerce and Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Director IBA Karachi/Ex- Governor SBP.

The Adviser on the occasion said that the meeting provides an opportunity to review the current economic situation for bringing consistencies in monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policies and ensure consistency among macro-economic targets of growth, inflation ,fiscal, monetary and external accounts. He added that Pakistan’s economy was performing well despite some challenges and moving on the path of growth. Consistency in upward growth trajectory is a reflection of government’s development oriented policies.

Secretary Finance presented a detailed briefing on the economic and fiscal situation. He informed that agriculture, industrial and services sectors have picked up growth on the back of supportive growth oriented policies. Inflation has been contained at 3.8 percent during first nine months of current year on account of effective monetary policy alongwith better supply of commodities. Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) also recorded an impressive growth of 6.3 percent during first seven months of the current year. High demand of cement and better sugar production will further improve growth. It was also informed that Large Scale Manufacturing’s sector like, electronics, iron and steel products, automobiles, non metallic mineral products, coke & petroleum products, paper & board, rubber products, engineering products, pharmaceuticals, food beverages & tobacco and textile are showing better performance.

The exports are continuously increasing and have registered a growth of 12.2 percent during first eight month of the current year as compared to a negative growth of 1.5 percent last year. Likewise increase in imports have been contained at 17 percent compared to 48 percent at the start of the current year on account of proactive measures. Remittances and FDI are also improving while FBR revenues showing better performance above 17 percent over last year.

The Governor SBP apprised the meeting that broad money (M2) witnessed a cumulative growth of 2.9 percent during 01 July-23 Mar FY18 as compared to a growth of 4.7 percent in the same period last year. The actual outcome of inflation is below expectation while external sector especially current account deficit is higher than expected The impact of two episodes of exchange rate depreciation is likely to be seen in the coming months, which may improve the current account. 

The meeting while expressing concern on current account deficit, called for effective management to bridge the gap. It was noted that exports are improving, imports have slowed down, while remittances and FDI are  improving. The Board members deliberated on various measures to enhance foreign exchange inflows. 

The Board emphasized to increase IT exports as well as enhancing measures to export food, vegetables, meat and in this connection ensure compliance of SPS obligations. The board also resolved to continue its works to have meaningful deliberations for a sustained and improved economy.
 
April 03, 2018 (PR No. 2294)

Delegation of the Pakistan Towel Manufacturing Association called on the MOS for Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan

A delegation of the Pakistan Towel Manufacturing Association, led by Mr. Muzammil Hussain, Secretary General of the Association, called on the Minister of State for Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan here on Tuesday.

Other members of the delegation included Mr. Shabbir Ahmad, Mr. Afroze Lari, Mr. Farukh Maqbool and Syed Usman Ali.
                          
The delegation discussed with the Minister some tax-related issues faced by the towel manufacturers and also shared with him the steps aimed at product improvement by value addition and research & development.

The Minister said that textile industry has a significant share in Pakistan's exports and the government values its contribution in foreign exchange earning. He said Government has due focus on the matter regarding sales tax refunds and shall provide all possible facilitation to traders community in the matter. 

He also shared with the delegation that many international research associations are ready to work on improvement of cotton seed for better quality and quantity of cotton production which would ultimately benefit the textile industry. 

The delegation thanking the Minister for the meeting, extended him invitation to visit the Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

 
April 02, 2018 (PR No. 2293)

US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia called on Adviser to PM on Finance

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

They discussed Pak-US ties with focus on economic cooperation. The overall security situation in the region also came under discussion.

Adviser Miftah Ismail welcomed Ms. Wells and said that such bilateral visits enhance understanding of each other’s point of view on important issues. He also shared with Ms Wells the current state of economy and said that the growth momentum generated during the last four years is likely to continue during the current year and beyond.

Ambassador Wells apprised the Minister of her interaction with US businesses having their operations in Pakistan and said that they see a lot of potential in Pakistan's economy.  

US Ambassador, David Hale and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance were present on the occasio.

 
March 28, 2018 (PR No. 2292)

Government has approved prices of different petroleum products for the month of April 2018

Government has decided to reduce prices of petrol and diesel by Rs. 2.07 and Rs 2.00 per litre respectively for the month of April 2018. It has further decided to maintain the prices of Kerosene oil and LDO at the same level as in the month of March.

Product

New Prices w.e.f 1-4-18
Rs. per litre

Motor Spirit (MS)92 RON Petrol

86.00

Diesel (HSD)

96.45

Kerosene Oil

76.46

Light Diesel Oil (LDO)

65.30

OGRA had proposed increase in the price of diesel by Rs 0.65 per litre but keeping in view the fact that diesel is primarily used in public transportation, transportation of goods, and also in farm equipment, the government decided not to burden the public at large with higher rates of diesel. OGRA had recommended a greater price reduction in the price of petrol, but keeping in mind that in previous months the government had reduced the price of petrol by more than what OGRA had recommended, and given the rising price of crude oil in the international market, the government took the decision to reduce the price of petrol by Rs 2.07 per litre.

Finally, the prices of Kerosene and LDO are being maintained at the level as in March 2018 even though OGRA had recommended to increase the rates of both these products.
          
The prices shall be effective from April 1, 2018 till midnight on April 30, 2018.

 
March 28, 2018 (PR No. 2291)

Delegation of Jhelum Chamber of Commerce and Industries met with Minister of State for Finance

A delegation of Jhelum Chamber of Commerce and Industries led by Mr. Farhan Razzaq Dar called on Minister of State for Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan here on Wednesday.

The delegation discussed with the Minster the issue regarding supply of gas to Small Industrial Estate, Jhelum.

The Minister said that the Government of PML-N has always supported the development of small and medium enterprises in the country and is fully cognizant of the role small industries play in the provision of employment and development of the local communities.

He added that the business community has rendered invaluable services for development of the country and the Government would always accord due consideration to the genuine needs and demands of traders and exporters. He assured the delegation of his full support and immediate action in the matter regarding supply of gas.

The delegation thanked the Minister for the meeting and said the business community would keep playing its role in supplementing Government’s efforts for strengthening of country’s economy.

 
March 21, 2018 (PR No. 2290)

Minister of State for Finance addressed Pakistan Leadership Conversation 2018

Minister of State for Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan said here on Wednesday that the government is keen to see Pakistan as an emerging hub of economic activities. It has strived hard to enhance people’s access to financial services and gaining technological knowhow so as to enable them contribute to the process of development in the country, he said.

The Minister was addressing the forum: “Pakistan Leadership Conversation 2018” organized by ACCA Pakistan. The basic theme of discussion this time was Collective Vision for an Emerging Pakistan.

The Minister went on to say that people of Pakistan today are better able to access financial services, especially due to the use of internet. They are fully abreast with the developments taking place in the world. But our journey does not end here, he said, adding that efforts are on to provide better training and facilities to the people to explore their potential and ACCA is one of the forums that is helpful in attaining this objective.

The Minister said that all over the world there is a change in the collective perception of doing business, new business arenas are coming up and people are exploring for more. Pakistan in this respect has diversity and huge potential to offer. For example there is a great scope of investment in agriculture (especially halal food), energy and low cost housing and we want the people to come and explore this potential. At the same time, the Minister said we should be technically prepared to cope with the challenges of the competitive business environment and ensure international standards. CPEC, he said will prove to be a game changer and if we keep due focus and work hard, we could benefit from it like Egypt did from the Suez Canal.

The Minister thanked Mr. Sajjeed Aslam, the Head of ACCA Pakistan for inviting him to the discussion and also praised the participants for sharing their ideas for growth of economy.

 
March 16, 2018 (PR No. 2289)

Pakistan's Foreign Exchange Position is Stable - Spokesman

A section of the media has carried a news story titled "Pakistan's net reserves stand a minus $724m" dated March 16, 2018.

The spokesman of Finance Division said the story is based on the recently published Post Program Monitoring (PPM) report by the IMF. He said, it is important to mention that  Net International Reserves (NIR) position reflects foreign currency assets of the Central Bank as against its liabilities. The story is comparing spot position of foreign exchange reserves with long term liabilities of the State Bank, which is not a good comparison as liabilities are to be retired gradually over a period of five to ten years time and not immediately in one instalment. IMF loan for instance is to be repaid by the year 2026 meaning approximately $800 million repayment a year starting from 2018.

The spokesman said Foreign exchange reserves do not stay constant. These are built on inflows through earnings from exports, personal transfers, foreign direct investments and earnings of the central banks. Major outflows from reserves are various repayments on account of imports, debt servicing etc. In addition it may be noted that loans and swaps are part of international reserves of central banks.

The spokesman stated that it may be noted that country's current foreign exchange reserves are sufficient to cater for debt servicing and import liabilities. Pakistan has never defaulted on its international liabilities and has catered for it liabilities even with lower levels of foreign exchange reserves in the past.  It is also pertinent to mention that when present government took charge in 2013, Pakistan's NIR was negative $ 2.5 billion.

He said, the decrease in foreign exchange reserves are mainly due to current account deficit of which imports are the main component. It may be observed that imports have shown unprecedented increase during 2016-17, while exports were declined.

The spokesman further said the negative trend in exports has bottomed out and Government initiatives have shown positive result as exports have increased by about 12%, workers’ remittances improved by 3.4% during July-February, 2017-18 and the FDI also posted strong growth of 15.6 percent during July-Feb, FY2018 over last year.

While the current account deficit which has seen expansion above 210 percent in July of current fiscal year has now been started contracted as during Jul-Jan FY2018 it has been contained at 48 percent.  With these positive trends strengthening, incoming months the current account deficit will improve in FY18, the spokesman said.

The spokesman added that the writers, in fact, have ignored the positive side of Fund’s assessment and have focused only on interpreting the potential challenges to the economy highlighted by the Fund.
He said, the Fund has also endorsed the positive and favourable outlook for economic growth, with real GDP estimated to grow at 5.6 percent in 2017/18 within favourable inflation environment. The Fund has mentioned that the economic growth has continued to strengthen supported by improved energy supply, investment related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, strong credit growth, and continued investor and consumer confidence.

It is important to share some positive trend of the economy during the current fiscal year, he said.

The spokesman also said the government has been able to achieve fiscal consolidation without compromising development expenditures as fiscal deficit has been contained at 2.2 percent of GDP during first half of current fiscal year against 2.5 percent in the same period of FY2017. While PSDP expenditures increased to Rs.733 billion during FY2017 over last year and this year the allocation is Rs.1 trillion. FBR tax collection continued to show impressive growth above 17 percent during July- February, FY2018. Inflation has been contained at 3.84 percent during July-Feb, FY2018 against 3.90 percent in the same period of FY2017. LSM has shown impressive broad base growth of 6.33 percent during July-Jan,FY2018 compared to 3.59 percent of last year. FDI after witnessing a subdued growth during last two months of CFY2018 has improved in February 2018 by 235 percent over January 2018. While, FDI improved by 15.6 percent during July-Feb, FY2018.

The spokesman further said under agriculture sector, the credit disbursement continued to increase above 42 percent during July-Jan, FY2018 over the same period last year. While incorporation of companies also improved above 44 percent during first half of FY2018. The credit to private sector has shown an impressive growth above 15 percent on Y-o-Y basis as on 2nd March, 2018, which suggest that there is strong growth in aggregate demand reflecting productivity in the economy.

The government is committed to maintaining foreign exchange reserves adequate to fund 2 ½ to 3 months of imports. Adequate financing is already in place to ensure maintaining the stability in foreign exchange reserves, the spokesman concluded.
 
March 14, 2018 (PR No. 2288)

Italian Ambassador called on Adviser to PM on Finance, Dr. Miftah Ismail

Italian Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo called on Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Miftah Ismail, here on Wednesday.

Stefano Pontecorvo apprised the Advisor regarding various bilateral cooperation initiatives underway between the two countries. He said that the exchanges of delegations in the recent months had helped in identifying several areas of cooperation between the two sides. He said that Italian investors were being informed of the investment potential in various sectors and they had expressed keenness to take advantage of these opportunities. 

Adviser Finance appreciated the dedicated efforts of Italian Envoy for promoting Pak-Italy economic cooperation. He said that the steady economic growth was creating greater economic opportunities for the investors. He said that the improved security and greater economic opportunities had led to a renewed interest of the international investors. He said all possible facilitation would be offered to potential Italian businessmen under Pakistan’s liberal investment regime.
 
March 14, 2018 (PR No. 2287)

Peshawar Small Chamber delegation met with Minister of State for Finance

A delegation of Peshawar Small Chamber, led by Mr. Dilawar Ihtisham  called on the Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan here on Wednesday.

The delegation requested the Minister that a simple return form may be developed for small traders. The delegation proposed that withholding tax on bank withdrawals should be applicable from Rs.500,000. They also emphasized simplification in audit procedures. These steps, the delegation opined would greatly benefit small traders and provide them due encouragement to expand their businesses.

The Minister said the proposals submitted by the delegation would be given appropriate consideration.

The delegation thanked the Minister for providing them the opportunity to discuss their proposals ahead of the upcoming budget for the general good of small industries in Peshawar.
 
March 14, 2018 (PR No. 2286)

IMF Resident Representative called on Minister of State for Finance

Newly appointed Resident Representative of IMF to Pakistan, Ms. Maria Teresa Daban Sanchez called on the Minister of State for Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal here on Wednesday.

The Minister welcomed the IMF representative and wished her a successful  tenure in the country. He  had exchange of views with her on the current macro- economic situation in the country and said all efforts were afoot to keep up the momentum of economic growth.

Ms. Maria Sanchez lauded efforts of the Government for improving security situation in the country which has given boost to economic activities and enhanced confidence of the business community. She also appreciated government’s endeavours to increase exports that would help bring down trade deficit.

During the meeting the IMF representative also discussed with the Minister the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank scheduled in April. She thanked the Minister for the warm welcome and expressed the desire to work in close cooperation with the government during her term.

 
March 13, 2018 (PR No. 2285)

Adviser to PM on Finance received Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail received Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing for a meeting here on Tuesday.

During the meeting they discussed Pak-China economic cooperation in various sectors particularly, financial sector.

Adviser Finance on the occasion said that the PML-N Government in the last four years had concentrated on reforms in different sectors and resolved the problem of energy shortage which in turn, spurred economic activities and growth.  There was visible step up and record growth in revenue. He said it was Government’s endeavour to achieve  6% growth target for the fiscal year 2017-18 and it felt confident that on the strong edifice it had built, economic development and growth would further increase in future.  He highly appreciated the continued cooperation provided by China in economic development of the country.

The Adviser said that representatives of several Chinese companies had met him with a view to initiating new business ventures in Pakistan. He said that the government will facilitate all such investors. 

Mr. Yao Jing said it was heartening to note Pakistan’s economy making strides despite some challenges. He assured Mr. Miftah Ismail of his strong resolve and passion for efforts aimed at keeping up the momentum of bilateral economic partnership.
 
March 08, 2018 (PR No. 2284)

Adviser to PM on Finance met with Secretary, DFID

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail received Matthew Rycroft, Permanent Secretary at Department for International Development (DFID) UK for a meeting here on Thursday. British High Commissioner, Thomas Drew accompanied the visiting dignitary on the occasion.

Adviser Miftah Ismail briefed Matthew Rycroft about the current state of economy and PML-N Government’s focus on steps for consolidating the economic gains made in the last four years.

The Adviser said the Government had introduced a large number of reforms in the economy, which had resulted in macroeconomic stability. He said that the government continues to follow the policy of prudent financial management and would keep the fiscal deficit in check during its final year in office. He said that economic growth was consistently increasing and the governemnt is confident to achieve its fiscal and growth targets. He said that the challenges on the external side are also being addressed through various measures. 

They also discussed matters relating to Pak-UK bilateral cooperation including activities of DFID supporting Government’s development plans and programmes.

Adviser Miftah Ismail said Pakistan was highly appreciative of British Government’s contribution for development programmes, particularly through DFID.

Both sides on the occasion expressed strong commitment for further consolidating Pak-UK cooperation.

 
March 08, 2018 (PR No. 2283)

Adviser to PM on Finance met with representatives of foreign banks

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail held a meeting with senior representatives of various foreign banks based in Pakistan, here on Thursday. 

The adviser shared his views on the current state of Pakistan's economy and said that despite challenges, PML-N government was well on course to achieve the growth target of 6%. He said that the government is committed to contain the fiscal deficit with steady increase in revenue as well as a prudent spending policy. The revenue collection by Federal Board of Revenue was constantly improving and it is on course to achieve the revenue target. He said the rising trend in exports was really encouraging and it is expected that the current account gap would narrow down in the last few months of the financial year. 
 
The Adviser said that the Government had undertaken a number of energy projects which had helped resolve the issue of power shortage in the country and in coming months the situation would further improve with new power stations becoming functional. He said smooth supply of energy to different industries was having a positive impact on economy and spurred economic and trade activities.

The Adviser on the occasion also shared with the official, details of the recent developments in the context of FATF meeting in Paris. He said that Pakistan had already taken a number of measures to prevent terror financing and would continue to do so in its own national interest. He said that such efforts would continue with the active help and support of the financial sector of Pakistan. He said that in the last few years Pakistan had worked with the international community to improve its legal framework and the policy of engagement would continue with a view to address certain misperceptions. 

Representatives of various foreign banks expressed appreciation of the steps taken by the PML-N Government for strengthening of the economy and said banks would keep playing their due role in the country's economy.

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

 
March 04, 2018 (PR No. 2282)

Adviser to PM on Finance reviewed budget preparations

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr. Miftah Ismail here on Sunday chaired a meeting to review the activities related to preparation of Budget 2018-19. 

The additional Secretary budget gave the meeting a briefing on the budget preparations and shared timelines for various activities.

The Adviser directed that Budget related activities be given due priority and agreed timelines be fully adhered to. He said that keeping in line with the traditions of the past four years of the PML-N government, due importance would continue to be accorded to proposals from all the stake holders, particularly business community and the Chambers of Commerce and Industries. He added that the budget would reflect Government’s efforts for having inclusive economic growth, measures for expanding the tax-base and tax net while also taking steps for improvements in all sectors of the economy.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of the Budget Wing of the Ministry of Finance

 
March 02, 2018 (PR No. 2281)

Adviser to PM on Finance Holds Meeting with SECP, PSX

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Mr. Miftah Ismail held a meeting with Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) here on Friday. 
           
Adviser said that the government is endeavouring to make Pakistan's financial and capital market, among the most competitive in the world. Terming the demutualization, integration and prioritization of stock exchanges as a landmark achievement, the Adviser said that the reforms carried out during the last four years had paid huge dividends. He said that foreign investment in Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) was welcome and efforts in this regard must continue. He appreciated the role of Chinese consortium in smooth transition of PSX, enhancing confidence of foreign investors and paving way for attracting investment in Pakistan. Adviser said that the matters relating to election of directors should be resolved by PSX in consultation with SECP as per the regulatory requirements.

Chairman SECP briefed the adviser on the regulators efforts to facilitate the development of strong capital market and said that the Commission maintains close contacts with all stakeholders to resolve various issues confronted by them. He said that due to the implementation of major reforms, a strong enforcement and compliance regime was in place to guard against market manipulation and other unfair practices. 

Chairman PSX appreciated the role of SECP and continued support of government to the stock exchange. He stressed that PSX is committed to play pivotal role in strengthening fair and transparent capital markets. Chinese investment is catalyst in introducing technological advancement, diversified financial products and global visibility. 

The meeting was attended by senior officials of Ministry of Finance, SECP and Pakistan Stock Exchange.

 
March 01, 2018 (PR No. 2280)

Minister of State for Finance Rana Mohammad Afzal met with Afghan delegation

Minister of State for Finance Rana Mohammad Afzal had a meeting with Afghan delegation attending the Pak-Afghan Joint Committee (PAJC) meeting in Islamabad organized by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), Pakistan as part of its Track II initiative ‘Beyond Boundaries’.

The delegation led by Mozammal Shinwari, Advisor to CEO on Trade and Regional Cooperation, also included Abdul Hakim Mujahid, Executive Director & Head of Afghanistan High Peace Council, Ms Elay Ershad, Member of Parliament, Ms Rangina Kargar, Member of Parliament, Lal Mohammad Durrani, Dy. Speaker Nangarhar Provincial Council, Salim Khan Kanduzi, Former Governor Nangarhar Province, Qutabuddin Royeedar, Former Dy. Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Mr. Feridoon Sikandar, Advisor to CEO on Refugees.  Mr. Aizad Ali Project Director, CRSS Pakistan and Imtiaz Gul, Executive Director, CRSS Pakistan were also present on the occasion.

During the meeting discussion specially focused on problems being faced in the realm of transit trade and measures for trade facilitation. Both sides agreed that new customs clearance facility at Torkham needs to be completed in the shortest possible time so that excessive delays could be avoided. The Minister also assured the delegation of his support for speedy customs clearance at the ports to facilitate early movement of goods containers.

It was also discussed that the scholarships being offered to Afghan students could also be made available to Afghan refugee families in Pakistan.

The delegation apprised the Minister that the Afghan Government is making concerted efforts for resettlement of Afghan refugees back home and that it plans to facilitate two million refugees in two years.

The Minister on the occasion appreciated the statement of the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani wherein he mentioned about unconditional dialogue with Afghan Taliban and also having talks with Government of Pakistan to resolve Afghan crisis.

The delegation thanked Minster Rana Afzal for sparing time for the meeting and a frank discussion with members of the delegation on different matters. The Minister, it may be mentioned specially flew in from Karachi Thursday morning to meet the delegation at the Rawal Lounge before the latter’s departure for Afghanistan.

 
February 28, 2018 (PR No. 2279)

Government has approved prices of different petroleum products for the month of March 2018

The Government has approved prices of different petroleum products for the month of March 2018 as under:

Product

Existing prices
w.e.f 1-2-18
Rs Per litre

New Prices w.e.f 1-3-18
Rs. per litre

Increase/Decrease
Rs. per litre

Motor Spirit (MS)92 RON Petrol

84.51

88.07

3.56

Diesel (HSD)

95.83

98.45

2.62

Superior Kerosene Oil (SKO)

70.18

76.46

6.28

Light Diesel Oil (LDO)

64.30

65.30

1.00

It may be added that OGRA and Ministry of Energy had proposed increase in the prices of these products including a Rs.6.94 per litre raise in the price of diesel. However, it was increased by Rs. 2.62 per litre only, for benefit of the general public. So, the new price of diesel (HSD) would be Rs. 98.45 per litre, Motor Spirit Rs. 88.07 per litre, SKO Rs 76.46 per litre and LDO Rs.65.30 per litre.

The new prices shall be effective from 1st of March 2018 till midnight on 31st of March 2018.

 
February 19, 2018 (PR No. 2278)

MOS for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan received Azerbaijanese counterpart

Minister of State for Finance, Rana Mohammad Afzal received his Azerbaijanese counterpart, Mr. Samir Sharifov for a meeting here on Monday. Mr. Samir was accompanied by the Azerbaijan Ambassador Ali Alizad on the occasion.

Welcoming the visiting dignitary, Rana Afzal said that both Pakistan and Azerbaijan enjoy cordial relations in all spheres. He emphasized the need to focus on expanding economic cooperation. Both sides agreed there was potential for furthering bilateral trade and that joint efforts must be made for enhancing trade relations in step with ties in other areas.

          Mr. Samir Sharifov said that Azerbaijan was offering educational scholarships to different Muslim countries and that Pakistan students were also welcome to avail these. Minister Rana Afzal welcomed the suggestion. He added that Pakistan wished to seek opportunities for export of technically trained personnel to Azerbaijan. He sought Mr. Samir Sharifov’s support in this realm.
 
February 19, 2018 (PR No. 2277)

MOS for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan attended the Round Table Conference on Charter of Economy

Minister of State for Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, arranged by the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries in coordination with Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SPDI) and Center for International Private Enterprises (CIPE) here on Monday.

Addressing the Inaugural session the Minister appreciated the role of Chambers of Commerce and Industry for promoting and facilitating economic  activities and extending support in Government’s efforts for development. The Minister said that the suggestions put forth by the Chamber of Commerce have due significance in policy formulation and future planning.

During the conference the participants from different fields of business shared their views and suggestions for the betterment of trade and industry in the country and measures they expect from the government in this regard. They also discussed their problems which could be resolved with support from the government. They particularly emphasized lowering of the tax rates and expanding the tax base.

The role of CPEC in boosting the national economy and its impact on commerce and trade was also discussed during the conference. There was also extensive discussion on development of  agriculture sector and the measures to increase export earnings of Pakistan.

The Minister later had a interactive session with the participants of the conference on the steps taken so far by the PML-N government for uplift of the economy. He said that in line with its charter, the PML-N Government has always advocated the concept of formulating the Charter of Economy to be followed by all the political parties. He also stressed the need for a joint effort from the traders and businessmen to promote trade and commerce and generate employment opportunities.

A delegation of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industries (RCCI) led by Mr. Asad Mashadi separately called on the Finance Minister and apprised him of their budget proposals regarding industry.

            The delegation invited the Minister to visit the Chamber’s Offices and also requested him to attend the All Pakistan Chambers Presidents Conference International (APCPCI) at Gwadar in March. The Minister accepted the invitation and also assured the delegation of his full support for efforts aimed at promotion of trade and commerce in the country.
 
February 14, 2018 (PR No. 2276)

3-Member delegation of the Food Fortification Program, Pakistan (FFP) called on the MOS for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan

A 3-member delegation of the Food Fortification Program, Pakistan (FFP) headed by Diane Northway, team leader, called on the Minister of State for Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan here Thursday. She was accompanied by Dr. Tauseef Akhtar Janjua, Technical Director and Laila Rubab Jaskani, National Advocacy and Communications Manager.

The team leader Ms. Northway briefed the Minister in detail on the objectives of the programme.

The FFP initiative of UK Government (DFID), launched last October, focuses on improvement of nutrition in the country. This includes the fortification of wheat flour and edible oil and ghee across Pakistan, starting in Punjab. The FFP aims to improve the production, access and consumption of wheat flour fortified with iron, folic acid, vitamin B12 and zinc, and edible oil and ghee fortified with vitamins A and D. Women of child bearing age and children would especially benefit from the Programme.

Ms Northway said that provincial and district level food departments, health departments, Pakistan Flour Mills Association and Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association have an important role to play in achieving the objectives of the Programme. Government’s help in the improvement of the Food Fortification Regulatory system through effective policy making was also vital.

The Minister said improvement of nutrition for the people was also among priority areas for the Government. He deeply appreciated the initiative and expressed support for the FFP. He also wished the whole FFP team complete success in their endeavours.

 
February 13, 2018 (PR No. 2275)

Three member delegation of ACCA Pakistan called on the MOS for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan

A three member delegation of Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) Pakistan, led by Sajjeed Aslam, called on the Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan here Tuesday. He was accompanied by Mr. Assad Hameed Khan and Haroon A. Jan accompanied.

The delegation discussed with the Minister the potential of the services sector in economic development with special focus on the accountancy services. The delegation apprised the Minister that there ws great demand for Pakistan’s professionals in the Middle eastern countries and support from the government will ultimately benefit the country in many ways. The group presented different proposals that could be considered for inclusion in the next budget and the same could help generate resources for the country.

The Minister appreciated the initiative of ACCA and said that he was highly supportive of promoting professional talent in different fields at home and abroad. The Minister said that “Pakistan has a lot to offer to the world and we believe in paving the way for the youth of the country to prosper”. The delegation also presented a study on CPEC, “The Belt and Road Initiative: Reshaping the Global Value Chain”, for perusal of the Minister.

 
February 09, 2018 (PR No. 2274)

Adviser to PM on Finance Dr. Miftah Ismail and World Bank Country Director Mr. Patchamuthu Illangovan discussed Pak-World Bank cooperation

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail had a meeting with Patchamuthu Illangovan, World Bank Country Director here Friday.

The Country Director apprised the Advisor of the various recent initiatives of the World Bank and discussed the up-coming projects likely to be implemented in the near future.  Mr. Illangovan reiterated World Bank’s resolve to keep up support for continuing the process of reforms by the Pakistan Government which in the last four and half years had greatly helped the country achieve macro-economic stability.

Mr. Illangovan also shared with the Adviser details about Agreements worth US$305.0 million recently signed with the World Bank to support projects in agriculture sector in Punjab and to improve the nutrition status of children as well as women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Adviser Miftah Ismail appreciated World Bank for extending its continuous support to the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to achieve sustainable economic development in the country. 

Secretary Finance also participated in the meeting.

 
February 07, 2018 (PR No. 2273)

Adviser to PM on Finance chaired a meeting to review progress of projects financed by development partners

Dr. Miftah Ismail, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, here on Wednesday chaired a meeting to review the progress of various projects being financed by international development partners.

Senior officials of Economic Affairs Division briefed the Advisor on the portfolio of economic assistance relating to different multilateral and bilateral development partners including World Bank and Asian Development Bank. The briefing included the latest status of disbursement of funds under these projects. 

The Adviser said that effective dissemination and utilization of the funds was very important for achieving optimum results of development projects. He stressed on the need for timely completion of projects and directed EAD to ensure effective follow up with executing agencies to ensure implementation of projects as per approved timelines.  The meeting was attended by senior officials of the Finance and Economic Affairs Divisions.

 
February 07, 2018 (PR No. 2272)

Punjab Finance Minister discussed financial matters with Dr. Miftah Ismail

Punjab Finance Minister, Ayesha Ghaus Pasha had a meeting with Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance,  Dr. Miftah Ismail here on Wednesday.

The two discussed financial matters pertaining to Punjab province and requirement of finances for various development projects in the province.

Ms Ayesha Ghaus Pasha gave the Adviser an update on the steps being undertaken by the provincial government for improvement of public financial management and local resource mobilization. She said the provincial government was fully focused on taking measures in terms of public service delivery. Shend also shared with the Adviser the important spheres of  focus of the Punjab government.
  
Miftah Ismail appreciated the development progrmames and projects that the provincial government had undertaken under the leadership of Chief Minister Shahbaz Shairf and said these had a noteworthy impact on the overall economic conditions in the province. In fact it was an example for others to follow, he said.

Dr. Miftah added the Government was now concentrating on efforts for achieving growth target for the current fiscal year and had strong resolve to continue the process of reforms it had undertaken immediately after assuming responsibilities.  He said the Government would extend full support to the provinces in their efforts for economic well being of the masses and welcome their contribution for strengthening of the national economy.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Finance Deptt, Punjab attended the meeting.

 
February 07, 2018 (PR No. 2271)

Federal Govt. Employees delegation discussed pay package with MOS for Finance and Economic Affairs

A delegation of the Federation of Federal Government Employees (Pakistan) Islamabad, called on the Minister of State For Finance, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan here on Wednesday and presented him proposals related to salaries and allowances.

The delegation which comprised of Federal Government employees from different Ministries/departments was led by Chaudhry Mukhtar.

The Minister had detailed discussion with the delegation on the 14-point agenda and said their proposals would be accorded due consideration. He assured them of his full support in the matter.

The Minister gave instructions for convening meeting of all the officials concerned and initiate preparations for a quality salary package for Fed. Govt. employees in the forthcoming budget. He said that the government was prepared to provide maximum facilitation to the employees hat was possible keeping in view available resources.

 
February 06, 2018 (PR No. 2270)

British Prime Minister's Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gareth Bayley met with Adviser to PM on Finance

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail received British Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gareth Bayley for a meeting here on Tuesday. British High Commissioner, Thomas Drew accompanied the visiting dignitary on the occasion.

Matters related to Pak-UK bilateral relations and activities of DFID in support of Government’s development plans and programmes were discussed during the meeting. Regional economic integration and cross border cooperation in the areas of trade and development also came under discussion.           

Adviser Miftah Ismail informed Gareth Bayley about the priorities of the government and stated that the PML-N government had made significant progress in the last four and a half years in the areas of peace & security, economic stability, energy sufficiency and social protection. He said that in the remaining part of the tenure, the government would try to consolidate the economic gains made in the last four years and the reform process would continue during this period. He added that despite challenges the economy was moving forward on the path of inclusive growth and Government was determined to achieve 6% growth target in 2018. He also made special mention of growth in revenue collection and said that further reforms in tax administration are a priority. 

Gareth Bayley assured the Adviser of the support and cooperation of the government of UK for economic reforms as well as for regional cooperation initiatives.
 
January 31, 2018 (PR No. 2269)

New Prices of Petroleum Products

The following prices of different petroleum products have been approved for the month of February 2018:

Product

Existing Prices (Rs) per litre
w.e.f  1.1.2018

New Prices (Rs) per litre
w.e.f 1.2.2018

Increase (Rs) per litre

Motor Spirit (MS) 92 RON Petrol

81.53

84.51

2.98

Diesel (HSD)

89.91

95.83

5.92

Superior Kerosene Oil (SKO)

64.32

70.26

5.94

Light Diesel Oil (LDO)

58.37

64.30

5.93

Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), it may be mentioned had proposed double digit increase in the rates of HSD (Rs. 10.25 per litre), SKO (Rs. 12.74 per litre) and LDO (Rs. 11.72 per litre) for the month of February on the basis of increase in prices of petroleum products in the international market. The Government however, decided to reduce the impact on the consumers through adjustment in the applicable levies.

The new prices will be effective from 1st of February until midnight on 28th of February 2018.
 
January 25, 2018 (PR No. 2268)

Miftah Ismail met with visiting World Bank delegation

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Miftah Ismail along with Minister for Water Resources and Minister of State for Finance had a meeting with visiting World Bank delegation here Thursday. 

 The delegation led by Ms Annette Dixon Vice President for  South Asia Region also included Ms Snezana Stoiijkovic, IFC Regional Vice President (Asia-Pacific) and Country Director World Bank in Pakistan, Patchamuthu Illangovan.

Adviser Miftah Ismail apprised the visiting delegation of the current state of economy and said that the policiies pursued during the last four years had stabilized the economy and helped it to grow at a steady pace. He said Pakistan achieved a decade high growth rate of 5.3% last fiscal year and was  targeting 6% growth in 2017-18. He said that the government was laying great emphasis on tax reforms and broadening of tax base. Miftah Ismail added that the current account has posed a challenge in the recent past, due to increased imports required in the expansionary phase. He said that the export enhancing measures have started to bear fruit and export growth will help narrow the trade deficit. Adviser Finance further said that Pakistan had resolved the problem of energy shortages and now desired more investment in infrastructure development and would welcome World Bank’s support in this regard.

Vice President World Bank Annette Dixon while praising present Government's efforts for strengthening macroeconomic fundamentals over the last four years hoped Pakistan would maintain the momentum in future as well. She called for greater focus on development of agriculture sector and sustainable water management.

Minister Rana Afzal on the occasion said regional trade, particularly with Iran and Afghanistan could help greater trade earnings for Pakistan and the government was making efforts in this regard. 

IFC Regional Vice President Ms Snezana Stoiijkovic on the occasion apprised the meeting about her interaction with private sector companies at Karachi including those related to energy sector and banks. She said Pakistan has a vibrant private sector and mentioned IFC’s interest in supporting Pakistan Infrastructure Bank. She said higher private sector investment would greatly contribute in achieving higher economic growth.

Adviser Miftah Ismail and World Bank Vice President Annette Dixon reiterated continued Pak-World Bank cooperation for economic development in Pakistan in future.

 
January 23, 2018 (PR No. 2267)

IMF Country Representative met with Dr. Miftah Ismail

Mr. Tokhir N. Mirzoev, called on Adviser to Prime Minister on  Finance, Miftah Ismail  here Tuesday.

The current macroeconomic situation and the future outlook of the economy came under discussion.

The Adviser on the occasion said that the present government’s concerted efforts had led to macro-economic stability and the country’s economy was moving steadily on the path of growth. He said that the economic data for the recent months showed increased economic activity which was encouraging. He said that the measures taken by the Government had improved exports as well, which would help narrow down the trade deficit. He said that the government would continue to pursue prudent fiscal policy so as to consolidate the gains of the past four years. He expressed the confidence that future would bring better opportunities for Pakistan. 

Mr. Mirzoev apprised the Adviser of the Fund's discussions and assessments during the recent Post Program Monitoring as well as the schedule of the next Article IV consultations between the Fund and the Government of Pakistan.

 
January 23, 2018 (PR No. 2266)

PTEA delegation met with Dr. Miftah Ismail

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) led by Mr. Shaiq Jawed, Chairman, met Dr. Miftah Ismail, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance here on Tuesday.

The delegation discussed with the Adviser, matters related to growth of textile exports.

The delegation requested for processing of tax refund, drawback cases on priority basis as it would resolve liquidity issues faced by exporters/manufacturers, and capital thus made available could be deployed by them towards expanding their businesses, in turn, helping country’s export earnings.

The delegation also discussed matters regarding smooth provision of energy / electricity to textile industry on uniform and economical rates for optimal production.

Adviser Miftah Ismail said the textile industry was the backbone of the economy and major foreign exchange earner. He said the government has taken important measures for enhancing exports and would extend all possible support to the Textile industry along with other sectors of the economy and provide an environment, conducive to fostering business activities. He said that the export growth in the recent months is heartening and the exporters should put in greater effort to make sure that this rising trend is maintained in the future as well. He said the issues raised by the delegation would be  accorded due consideration and necessary measures taken to address them accordingly.

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

 
January 19, 2018 (PR No. 2265)

Finance Minister of Punjab met with Dr. Miftah Ismail

Finance Minister of Punjab, Ms Ayesha Ghaus Pasha had a meeting with the Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr. Miftah Ismail here Friday and discussed financial matters relating to Punjab.

Ms Ayesha Ghaus Pasha apprised the Adviser of the resource mobilization efforts being carried out by the provincial government.  She said that the provincial government had laid focus on greater revenue generation, as the increased availability of resources was essential to carry out public service delivery. She also shared with the Adviser the key areas of focus of the provincial government and said that provision of federal transfers in a timely manner helps the provincial government in undertaking its projects and programmes as per schedule.

Adviser Miftah Ismail appreciated the resource mobilization efforts of the provincial government and said that the provinces must augment their resources through the provinicial revenues. He said the Federal Government fully believed in facilitation to all the provinces in terms of immediate transfer of provincial share in federal revenues. The Federal Government would continue to follow the same course in future, Dr. Miftah added. He said the Government was focused on further strengthening of economy and making concerted efforts for achieving growth target for the current fiscal year. He said the Government would appreciate efforts and contribution of the provinces for economic consolidation.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Finance Deptt, Punjab attended the meeting.

 
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:

Product

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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