ISLAMABAD: Forex reserves on Wednesday touched $ 16 billion mark with CPI-based inflation recorded at the lowest level of 5.7 percent, said Minister for Finance Muhammad Ishaq Dar.
This proved that the macro-economic indicators were showing resilience due to economic reforms initiated by the government, he said while addressing a conference on “Change of Base of Price Indices” organized by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics in collaboration with World Bank here.
The minister said the government believed in openness and transparency.
That was why it was endeavouring to make the PBS an autonomous body so that it could collect data independently and in a transparent manner.
The government, he added, was also striving to modernize the PBS’ data collection mechanism by enhancing its outreach to rural markets so that its credibilty could be recognized both in the country and internationally.
Dar said the presence of economists, policy-makers, academia and researchers showed the importance of the conference.
Its recommendations would be incorporated in the policy to make the data more transparent and authentic.
Suggestions from the particiapnts for making the PBS an independent institution would be welcomed.
“The PBS governing council has decided that the meeting for re-basing of base period will automatically be held after every ten years to make the data collection system more smooth and transparent,” he added.
Appreciating the performance of PBS, he said its working was even recognized by international institutions, including World Bank and other development and donor partners.
The minister stressed the need for evolving a charter of economy with the consensus of all political forces to overcome the economic problems being faced by the country.
Highlighting the achievements on economic front, he said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government had been able to implement the economic reforms agenda as per party’s manifesto during last 19 months.
He said owing to the prudent economic policies, macroeconomic indicators had improved and economy was heading on the path to sustainable development.
The foreign exchange reserves reached $16 billion while inflation in December 2014 was recorded at the lowest level of last 11 years.
The consumer price indice (CPI) also came down to 5.77 percent from 12 percent last year.
The minister said the 6th review (regarding $6.8 billion loan) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) remained successful as the Fund lauded the economic performance and policies of the government.
All targets were achieved and no waiver was sought from the IMF, which was a good omen for national economy, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Economist World Bank Ghazala Mansoori said credible data was vital for policy making. Re-basing of price indices was an important matter.
She said the World Bank would support the PBS for enhancing its outreach to rural market, which had been neglected during the data collection process for reducing poverty in the country.
Secretary Statistic Division Asif Bajwa said the PBS had initiated process for taking valuable input from stakeholders for re-basing of price indices.
The Bureau, he said, was working on different dimentions for collecting credible data by applying the best internationally recognized practices to make it more transparent.