Finance Minister Dar meets with US Undersecretary for International Affairs

WASHINGTON: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met with Ms. Lael Brainard Undersecretary of Treasury for International Affairs and briefed her about the country’s efforts towards macroeconomic stabilization.

He informed Ms. Brainard about the actions taken by the new government in first four months, saying these had put the economy back on track, an aide to the finance minister said.

Dar highlighted that in its first four months the government had cleared a circular debt amounting to over Rs. 550 billion, and this way added 1700 MW of power in the national system.

Also, the government had initiated structural reforms to expand the tax base, resulting in 20 percent increase in tax revenues of last year. He informed that these steps had restored the confidence of investors and multilateral agencies.

Not only the foreign direct investment inflows had more than doubled in first quarter but also the overseas chamber of commerce had improved Pakistan?s rating from -34 to +2.

Finance Minister, who is in Washington to spearhead a Pakistani delegation to the IMF-World Banking annual meetings, said the government had set an ambitious target for the economy in the next three years which include reducing the fiscal deficit by half, doubling of GDP growth rate and increasing the investment by 50 percent.

The finance minister stated that the actions taken by the government had led to the approval of the Program with the International Monetary Fund. The Fund, he said, has endorsed the policies of the government, headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Ms. Lael Brainard appreciated the bold decisions taken by the new government to revive the Pakistani economy. She observed that these steps would help create jobs and pull investment into the country. She assured finance minister of all possible help to achieve the targets set by the government.

Later, Ishaq Dar addressed a gathering of Pakistani-Americans at the Pakistani embassy, which hosted a dinner in honor of the visiting finance minister and his team of economic managers including Secretary Finance Dr. Waqar Masood Khan, Governor State Bank Yaseen Anwar, and Secretary Economic Affairs Division.

Charge d’ Affaires Dr. Asad Majeed Khan welcomed the finance minister and praised his expertise and focus on dealing with economic challenges facing the country.

In his wide-ranging speech, Senator Dar touched upon a string of structural reforms and measures, the PML-N government launched right away and assured the Pakistani-Americans that the government is pursuing a clear-cut, target-oriented roadmap for economic rebound.

He cited a number of hopeful positive economic indicators that have emerged in the wake of the new policies in the last four months.

Regarding energy issues, he said the government is taking immediate, medium and long-term steps to meet the fast-increasing energy needs of the country.