Concerted efforts required to end energy crisis: Hafeez
02 July, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on Sunday despite the recent increase in the production of electricity from 10,000MW to about 14,000MW, greater efforts would be required from the management of the electricity sector and relevant ministries to overcome the energy crisis.
The finance minister called on Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf at the Prime Minister's House and briefed him on the economic situation in the country. He said better economic performance was evident from the decline in the rate of inflation from 13 percent last year to 11 percent in the fiscal year 2011-12. The benefit of decline in international fuel prices, the minister said, had been passed on to the consumers and in the last 45 days, prices of fuel, diesel and kerosene have been brought down three times. He said the fiscal year 2011-12 ended with a growth of 3.7 percent which was an improvement over the last three years.
Shaikh said the country had foreign exchange reserves of over $15 billion at the end of the outgoing fiscal, despite scheduled payment of $1.2 billion in IMF loans in the year. He said exports remained strong in spite of the global economic crisis and are likely to maintain an upward momentum in the year 2012-13 as well. The finance minister highly appreciated the role of expatriate Pakistanis and said remittances from them were at a historic high level of over $13 billion.
Shaikh said the year 2011-12 ended with a record level of tax revenue, which is expected to surpass the Rs 1,910 billion mark – an increase of Rs 450 billion on the last year – a growth rate of 23 percent, the highest level of growth in a year in the country's history. The finance minister further said that the financial year 2011-12 saw successful completion of federal PSDP projects. He added Rs 300 billion worth of projects were undertaken with 100 percent utilisation of funds, and more than 200 projects had been completed.
Shaikh briefed the prime minister on the revival programme of Pakistan Steel Mills for which allocation has been made by the Finance Ministry to ensure the success of the new management of the mills and to gradually increase its output from the present 20 percent to 80 percent.
Prime Minister Raja expressed his satisfaction over the economic stability and appreciated the efforts of the team working under the leadership of the finance minister. He directed continuation of prudent economic policies and said that the incoming year's PSDP be allocated to projects based on regional balance. Separately, the prime minister discussed the NATO supply route issue and Pakistan-US ties with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar during a meeting on Sunday. The two also discussed the overall political situation in the country.