Dar invites Middle East banks to invest in Pak treasury bills

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs, Revenue and Statistics Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Wednesday invited Middle Eastern banks to invest in Pakistan’s treasury bills.

Ishar Dar, who is currently visiting the United Arab Emirates, mentioned during his briefing to bankers that it was the first time that the government had listed treasury bills for trading on the stock exchange, said a message received here from Consulate General of Pakistan, Dubai.

The minister cited that in the nineties, credit facilities for Pakistan were extended by the Middle Eastern banks. One such facility had been extended recently as well, he added.

The minister encouraged the bankers for resumption of similar financing facilities, as the fast growing Pakistani market had good appetite for such credit. This, he added, would also bring dividends to the banks.

While giving a detailed review of Pakistan’s economy to the representatives of Middle East banks, the Finance Minister said the present government was following an economic reform agenda and nearly all the economic indicators were on track.

In the first half of the financial year, the minister said, Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) had shown a growth of 6.8 percent, which was leading the overall growth in the economy.

He further said that the growth in credit to private sector had shown a phenomenal increase of 8.7 per cent for the period July-2013 to March 2014 over -0.8 percent in the last financial year.

Dilating on the external front, the minister said exports were showing positive results with a growth of 6.2 percent year-on-year for the period July-February.

It was estimated that the pace of growth would further accelerate when advantage of GSP plus status starts accruing, he added.

The minister said remittances showed an increase of 11.2 percent higher than last year, which was helping Balance of Payment (BOP) position and added that he was hopeful that there would be further improvement in BOP position and foreign exchange reserves on account of expected foreign inflows.

Ishaq Dar also highlighted that the expenditure management had helped in reducing fiscal deficit during July- February 2013-14 to 3.1 percent against 4.1 during the same period of last year. The Federal Bureau of Revenue’s collection during July 2013-February 2014 also showed a healthy growth of Rs 1348 billion compared to Rs 1145 billion for the same period last year indicating an increase of 17.7 percent.

Representatives of Dubai Islamic Bank, Mashreq Bank, Emirates Islamic Bank, Habib Bank, Habib AGZ Bank, ENBD AM Bank and United Limited Bank attended the meeting.