Govt to announce policies for Petroleum and Gas production soon: Dar

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar on Thursday said that the government would announce policies for Petroleum and Gas production soon and expressed the hope for `Prosperous Pakistan’ under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

In a policy statement in the National Assembly, the minister said, the country would achieve all the set targets for the development and prosperity by continuing its performance of last 6 months.

He said that international community is giving a positive look to Pakistan for investment due to the prudent policies of the present government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

The International experts, he said think that Pakistan is going to become the 11th emerging market in the world.

He viewed that foreign investors initiating different projects in Pakistan including windmill which would help to increase GDP and employment opportunities for the people in the country.

The Finance Minister said that the government of PML-N had saved 14 percent interest amount being paid on delay in the payment of Rs 500 billion circular debt to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and others left by the previous government.

The government stance on payment of circular debt, he said, the government has saved Rs 67.2 billion per annum interest to be paid on the non payment of the (accumulated) circular debt to the IPPs and others.

He further said the payment of the circular debt helped adding over 1700 MW of electricity in the national grid. The payment of circular debt has also ensured 7 percent growth in industrial production from June to July 2013 due to end of load shedding.

Expressing his annoyance over the propaganda of the opposition, he said, the amount of circular debt is being twisted.

The details of Rs 480 billion had also been placed on the website of the Ministry of Finance.

He said a total of Rs 503 billion circular debt was due including Rs 23 billion liquidity damages. Giving the details of circular debt payment, he said the government has only paid Rs 59 billion cash to IPPs and others.

An amount of Rs 128 billion has been arranged from Pakistan Investment Bonds, Rs 135 billion has been arranged by imposing a cut on the expenditures of the ministries.

An amount of Rs 20 billion, he said has been recovered from dividends of Public Sector Organisations and Rs 138 billion has been arranged from recoveries of the defaulting institutions.

He said that Rs 59 billion cash was used to cover circular debt and now the government was saving Rs 67.2 billions per annum and all the members should have to give positive suggestion for more improvement.

Regarding the agreement inked with the International Monitory Fund (IMF), he said, PML-N had decided to make these documents public and agreements with IMF have been placed on the official website of the ministry on the same day on which the agreement was inked.

Rejecting the allegations that government is following IMF policies, the minister said that the economic policy of the government was home grown and was part of the manifesto presented by PML-N before the general elections.

He said nine IPPs had filed cases in Supreme Court against the non payment of Rs 503 billion while load shedding up to 17 hours continued in the country due to the non-payment of the circular debt by the previous government.

The Minister said further detail of the circular debt can be checked from the Ministry of Water and Power as the government believes in transparency and wanted to share information with masses.

He said budget deficit has also been reduced to 2.2 percent from 2.9 percent. Stock Exchange has registered 27 percent increase due to steps taken by the government, adding that 50 percent of the remittance had also been cleared.

He said that the tax to GDP ratio would be increased up to 15 percent from current 8.5 percent, adding that the target of 13 percent has been set for 3 years.

He added that secret funds of 32 departments were abolished by the government soon after assuming charge. The government has also imposed ban on the officials to become members of boards of more than one institution.

The minister said due to failure of previous government to achieve target of Rs 2281 billion revenue was one of the main reason of inflation.

He said present government could not be blamed for inflation, however, he said, inflation witnessed decline during last two week due to steps taken by the present government.