Govt pursuing 3-point agenda to address various issues: Dar

WASHINGTON: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government is pursuing a three-point agenda to address economy‚ energy and extremism issues.

He was speaking at a meeting with the US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns in Washington.

He said the new government has taken tough decisions like increasing tariff on electricity and reducing subsidies in the sector as the electric tariff had not been enhanced during the last eighteen months due to political inaction.

Dar said the government also cleared circular debt of over five hundred billion rupees in forty-five days and added seventeen hundred megawatt of electricity to the system.

The Finance Minister said the government has set an ambitious target of an increased tax revenue of twenty-eight per cent.

Deputy Secretary Burns appreciated the bold decisions taken by the Pakistan government and hoped that the American investors would benefit from the investor friendly policies of Pakistan.

Speaking at a meeting with the US under Secretary David Cohen and the US Treasury Department‚ Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the government has taken measures to improve documentation of economy and control illegal transfer of money which could be used for terrorist activities.

He said the government is giving incentives to promote transfer of money through official means.

David Cohen appreciated the serious efforts by the government of Pakistan to control terrorist financing and expected that there would be positive outcomes from the next visit of Financial Action Task Force team next week.

The ministerial session focused on the theme of the Post-2015 Global Development Framework. The recommendations of the meeting would be taken into account as the UN prepares to finalize post-2015 development agenda.

Dar highlighted in his remarks that meeting the post-2015 development goals would require resources and developing countries must have access to finances towards that end. “It should be realistic and access to financing should be available (to developing countries”, he said.

On the key question of access to energy, Senator Dar cited US President Barack Obama’s statement to the UN General Assembly last month, when the American leader said the world should ensure a smooth availability of energy.

“I think we have to go a step forward, energy should be affordable also in the backdrop of last few years as prices have gone haywire to ruin the economies of developing countries”, he stated.

The new UN framework will guide governments and international development partners after 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals expire.

Earlier, Finance Minister Dar met with U.S. Undersecretary for Treasury David Cohen and discussed bilateral cooperation.

The Pakistani delegation to the annual WB-IMF meetings includes Secretary Finance Dr. Waqar Masood Khan, Governor State Bank Yaseen Anwar and Secretary Economic Affairs Division Nargis Sethi.