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GDP growth rises to 5pc in current financial year: Dar

20 December, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that due to viable economic reforms‚ the country is heading towards economic revival and stability.

The National Assembly resumed its session Thursday with Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi in the chair

Making a policy statement in the National Assembly ‚ he said that due to these policies‚ average GDP growth in the first quarter of the current fiscal year has risen to five percent as compared to two point nine percent in the same period last year.

.He said the government is committed to bring the GDP ratio up to six percent during the next four years. By the grace of God Almighty two third target of the GDP has been achieved in the current fiscal year.

Ishaq Dar said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made a commitment in the election manifesto that budget deficit will be brought down to four percent during the next five years.

He said due to prudent economic policies‚ the government has been successful to bring down this rate from eight point eight percent to eight percent.

He said it is hoped that budget deficit will further decrease by the end of this fiscal year and the targets will be achieved which will help ensure bring stability in the economy.

He said this target has been achieved despite hurdles like payment of huge amount of circular debts and loans while the government successfully was able to save over 135 billion rupees that is a record.

The Finance Minister said that the government has paid 503 billion rupees of circular debt. He said due to non-payment of this amount‚ there was daily load shedding of sixteen to eighteen hours in the country during in the last months of the previous government.

Giving details about payment of the circular debt‚ the Minister said 348 billion rupees were paid in the first phase by issuing 128 billion rupees worth of Pakistan Investment Bonds‚ cutting and saving expenditure worth 135 billion rupees‚ 20 billion rupee dividends from public sector enterprises and 59 billion rupees of cash paid out of Federal Consolidated Fund.

He said the remaining 138 billion rupees were paid in July by recovering government loans from different organizations.

Ishaq Dar said the country was also paying 14% interest on the circular debt and by retiring the debt‚ we would be saving 55 billion rupees annually just on account of interest.

He said the retiring of circular debt also enabled addition of 1700 MW of electricity to the national grid and as a result the industrial growth surged to 7 percent in the first quarter of the current financial year.

The Finance Minister said that the government took a number of austerity measures to reduce burden on the national exchequer. He said the Prime Minister's discretionary fund has been reduced zero. He said the functioning of foreign missions has been thoroughly reviewed and it will save two billion rupees by curtailing different expenditures.

He said seventeen percent new companies have been registered during the last five months which shows the interest of the business community in the government. He said similarly‚ the stock exchange growth has also increased by 27 percent.

The Minister said that presently the foreign exchange reserves situation is not satisfactory but due to the government's measures during the next three years it will improve and reach 20 billion dollars.

Clarifying different statements regarding printing of notes‚ Ishaq Dar said that during the last five months 672 billion rupees new notes have been printed while 466 billion rupees notes have been deposited. He said in this way the total new circulation is of 206 billion rupees.

Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali told the House during question hour that during the coming months maximum of four to six hours load-shedding will be made due to lower production of electricity in the hydel sector.

To a question‚ the Minister of State said government is taking different measures to control electricity theft in the country. He said a special task force has been constituted and field survey is underway to check the kunda connections.

He said that FIRs are being registered against those involved in energy theft. He said earlier it was a bail-able offence but it will be made a non bail-able offence and Council of Common Interests has given approval in this regard. He said after the approval of the Cabinet it will be implemented in letter and spirit.

Replying to a question‚ Minister of State for Religious Affairs Pir Amin-ul-Hasnat Shah said that government is taking measures to provide more facilities to the pilgrims and reducing their financial burden. He said the extra Hajj expenditures are being waved off in this regard.

He said that the Hajj operation 2013 has successfully been completed and no major complaint regarding problems faced by Hujjaj has been received. He said 11500 minor complaints were received that were addressed appropriately.

To a question‚ Minister of State for National Health Services‚ Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar told the House that legislation work is underway to address the issues regarding pharmacists. She said the bill will be introduced in the House within three months.

She said the government is also working to check and control the functioning of the unregistered health laboratories and quacks.

To a question‚ Parliamentary Secretary for Ports and Shipping Mian Imtiaz Ahmad told the House that Special Economic Zone will be set up at Gwadar under the vision of the Prime Minister. He said the zone will be exempted from tax for twenty years. He said there will be no duty on raw material and the foreign investors will be ensured complete protection.

He said that work on Gwadar Port started in 2004 while it was formally inaugurated in 2007. He said work is underway on the project and remaining phases will be completed in a short period of time.

End.

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