ISLAMABAD: Secretary Finance, Dr. Waqar Masood Khan here on Friday apprised the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs that government has released Rs.17 billion for Pakistan State Oil (PSO) for smooth supply of petroleum products across the country.
The Committee which met with Senator Nasreen Jalil in chair was also informed that recent petrol shortage occurred due to disturbance in supply chain and it would be overcome with in next few days.
The Committee was informed that a ship carrying 50,000 tons of oil has been anchored in Karachi Port besides opening of five new letter of credits (LCs) and it is expected that supply of petrol would improve with in few days.
The government has also finalized arrangements to fulfill the financial requirements of PSO to keep petroleum supply at smooth level in future besides taking steps for the recovery of circular debt.
Dr. Waqar said that the government was providing Rs. 222 billion subsidy on petroleum products and the amount of subsidy was provided every month to avoid any crisis like situation.
Giving the overview of national economy, he told the Committee that the government was optimistic to achieve the GDP growth targets of 5.1 percent as the flood assessment report had reveled that major crops were not affected by floods at large and their production would also not be affected.
During the period from July-October, industrial sector recorded 1.2 percent growth as compared to corresponding period of last year besides auto-mobile and steel sector was performing well, he added.
The meeting was informed that core-inflation was recorded at 6.7 percent during last 6 months which stood at 8.2 percent in corresponding period of last year. During last 6 months average inflation recorded at 6 percent.
The secretary informed that exports were reduced and government had not received any relief in imports as import bill of oil was increased during the months of July-August, 2014.
He said that the oil import bill came down during the months of November and December and it is expected that government would be able to earn $3-5 billion as oil prices witnessed decreasing trend in international market.
Secretary Finance said that stock market was also performing well as it had crossed the 34,000 points mark and from last three years it was among the world best markets.
Remittances posted 15 percent increase as during last 6 months country received about $9 billion which are likely to reach $25 billions by the end of current fiscal year.
The forex reserves has crossed $15 billion mark, foreign direct
investment registered 19 percent growth and stood at $529 billion which was recorded at $445 billion of same period last year.
The Committee recommended the Ministry of Finance to take appropriate measures for providing more relief to masses as petroleum product prices registered about 50 percent reduction in international market.
The Committee also expressed its concern over recent shortage of petrol and asked for taking measures to keep supply smooth besides completing the Board of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA).
Senators, Saleem H. Mandviwala, Sardar Fateh Muhammad Muhammad Hasni and Syeda Sughra Imam attend the meeting.
The Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Ashraf Mahmood Wathra and senior officials of ministries of finance and privatization were also present in the meeting.