Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that Pakistan suffered a direct economic loss of $100 billion in the war against terrorism whereas its indirect cost was even greater. Speaking at the concluding session of SDPI seminar, Dar said that an indirect cost of war on terror in terms of human losses and infrastructure far exceeded the direct cost.
An official of Finance Ministry said the estimate of economic loss of $100 billion was based on figures compiled in a report jointly prepared by various ministries and would be officially released by the Foreign Office (FO) in near future. “We are trying to return to normalcy and not looking for a shortcut,” he reiterated.
The Minister said the previous government had not done any good to the economy and people were suffering because of the economic mess created by them. Dar said the present government had taken Rs 200 taxation measures in budget to fulfil the commitment made by the previous government with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The present government had to increase the power tariff to implement the delayed decision of caretaker government. The implementation of decisions delayed by previous or caretaker government has been responsible for fuelling inflation.
The Minister said the government had targeted to reduce fiscal deficit to 6 percent of the GDP and is closing monitoring inflation to limit it to a single digit. The Minister said the country’s public debt had gone beyond the limit of 60 percent of the GDP fixed in Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act (FRDL) and reached Rs 14.5 trillion or 63.5 percent of GDP due to previous government’s borrowings. He said that government would try to bring it below 60 percent of the GDP. Dar said the country had to avail cheap resources to implement Prime Minister’s vision of mega projects. “We have gone to the IMF pay old loan.” The Minister also recounted in details about the measures envisioned and taken by the present government to deal with power generation and foreign exchange stability. He said he was informed on the way that Pakistan had been granted GSP plus status by the European Parliament effective from January 2014, which would help increase the country’s exports by $2 billion.
Author: Zaheer Abbasi
Source: Business Recorder