Islamabad, October 13, 2014 (PPI-OT): Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar held separate meetings with the representatives of Moody’s, Standard and Poors and Fitch Rating agencies in Washington. Moody’s and S and P have been declaring their sovereign ratings on Pakistan while Fitch Ratings has recently shown its interest in sovereign ratings on Pakistan and requested for discussions with the Finance Ministry during World Bank and IMF Meetings.
The Finance Minister highlighted the turnaround in Pakistan’s economy during the last fifteen months. He said that Pakistan did not entirely bank upon the EFF but broad spectrum of reforms, enhancement in tax to GDP ratio, curtailment of inflation to single digit, subsidies, privatization of Public sector enterprises and incentives in oil and gas sectors have been pursued side by side in addition to the comprehensive agenda of initiatives in the financial sector without any compromise on the Development and Social Safety Programs.
Citing the phenomenal response of the international community towards Eurobond, the Finance Minister said that different ranking institutions in general and JETRO in particular have declared Pakistan as the second most favorite country for Foreign Direct Investment. Mr. Ishaq Dar clarified that the increase in the country’s Foreign Exchange Reserves during the last fifteen months has been achieved through indigenous reform agenda instead of borrowings from International Financial Institutions alone.
Referring to the delay in issuance of Islamic Bonds and divestment of OGDC shares due to recent political hiccups, the Finance Minister said that the fourth and fifth review of the IMF would be combined together while government will be completing these two delayed transactions in the coming weeks successfully besides addressing the political impasse thorough dialogue as all the parties in the Parliament are on one side while PTI is on the other.
The Finance Minister highlighted the decrease in the fiscal and trade deficits and significant increase in GDP i.e 4% after a gap of six years. He expressed his resolve to raise the Foreign Exchange Reserves to $15 billion by the end of this year.
Mr. Ishaq Dar highlighted government’s exploration and production of hydrocarbons policy, new discoveries in natural gas and reliance on super critical technology in coal fired power projects, besides diversifying the energy mix to increase 10000 MWs of electricity to the National Grid.
The representatives of rating agencies recognized the tremendous potential of Pakistan’s energy sector in comparison with regional countries in general. Addressing their concern on recent skirmishes along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, the Finance Minister said that Pakistan has always preferred dialogue with India on all outstanding issues without constraining progress on bilateral trade.
The executives of the rating agencies said that if the menace of extremism is eliminated, Pakistan will be an ideal market for capital investments. Mr. Ishaq Dar apprised of the state of ongoing operation in North Waziristan and said that the government is committed to fighting the menace of extremism to the end.
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