Pakistan will not face bankrupcy: Mandiwalla

ISLAMABAD:Finance Minister Saleem H. Mandviwalla said here on Tuesday that Pakistan is not facing bankruptcy, nor did it will ever face such a scenario. “We should not take rumor-mongering seriously.”

Answering a question at his first press conference, he said the process of budget preparation was continuing and the budget team was making good progress.

Mandiwalla, who has been finance minister for less than a month stated: “My predecessor had some other plans or he wanted to go somewhere else from here,” Mr Mandviwalla said while referring to the resignation of Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

Adding further, the minister stated that he is endeavoring to strengthen national economy with sensible and transparent economic policies and measures. His ministry also claimed to have finalized a Shariat complaint bond for Haj under which intending pilgrims would be given an opportunity to purchase Islamic Sukuk Bonds worth Rs300,000.

Likewise, dollar-denominated bonds would be offered to overseas Pakistanis who would get return in Pakistani currency on maturity.

He said he had set a medium-term increase of remittances to $20 billion from this year’s $14.5 billion.

“It is for the relevant ministries to examine all issues involved and present all facts in their summaries and other stakeholders get an opportunity to present divergent views at the ECC meeting,” he said.

He was replying to questions relating to decisions taken by two meetings of the ECC held in four days and to some summaries which were presented to ECC during the meeting instead of customary circulation to all ministries in advance for their opinion.

When reminded that line ministries reach a point where the big shots are subjected to the ECL, like Minister Shaukat Tarin who had been put on the exit control list, Mr Mandviwalla showed confidence of not being put on the Exit Control List.

“It is better to take decision instead of taking no decision at all and when we take decisions there is a possibility of mistakes as well,” he said, adding that he had directed all line ministries to put up all outstanding issues so that we can take decisions”.

He said he had addressed all pending issues of urgent nature within a week since taking over as the finance minister because the time was limited and the tasks were many. He was not very clear when all the outstanding issues would be addressed, but vowed to resolve lingering matters by stripping off unnecessary administrative and system delays.

He said he is trying to be exemplary by setting an example through disposing of all files within a day. “We have cleared the entire backlog and have no pending issues,” he said.