LAHORE, Dec 26 (APP): Federal Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar on Saturday said the present government is all committed to do away with major challenges of economic revival, energy crisis, elimination of terrorism and extremism from the country and doubling the education and health sectors budget.
He added, “I have firm belief and faith that Pakistan has great potential to progress and has very bright future that is why, we have almost grasped all these major challenges by ensuring remarkable achievements in these directions.”
He was addressing the passing out ceremony of Probationary Officers of the 42nd Specialized Training Programme of the FBR here at Directorate General of Training and Research (Inland Revenue). Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan, DOT DG Sameera Yaseen, Member IR (Operations) Dr Muhammad Irshad also addressed the ceremony, attended by high-ups of the FBR and 57 probationary officers.
He mentioned that the PML-N government had always put the country’s economy on track to speedy growth, citing that in 2012-13, Pakistan’s economy was declared instable and no country was then ready do business with Pakistan or buy Pak bonds, but today Pakistan’s bonds, including Sukuk, got unprecedented response at global level.
Because in only two years, the present government managed to stabilize Pakistan economy to that level, as today 22 credible institutions of the world have declared Pakistan’s economy much stable.
According to one of the global economic pundits, Pakistan could become world’s 18th economy from the current 44th till 2050, provided she continued with same pace of economic development, he mentioned.
The Finance Minister said the PML-N government managed to bring down the budget deficit to 5.3 percent from 8.8 percent and would soon lower it further up to 4.3 percent.
“We have curtailed the discretionary funds of the Prime Minister and the ministers,” he added.
He said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had the vision and plan to take Pakistan forward on all fronts and the PML-N government did not plan up to its tenure but make long-term policies/planning with all sincerity to bring Pakistan at par with developed nations.
The PML-N, he asserted, had never done politics for mere power gain but for transforming Pakistan into a vibrant economy and stable by all aspects.
“We took all the three challenges of economy, energy and extremism head on. The N-League leadership has firm believe that Pakistan economy can grow at a more fast speed and we all committed to achieve this goal,” he added.
The Finance Minister said the present government’s effective policies had ensured tax growth rate up to 33 percent in two years-16.5 percent per annum- while it was mere 3 percent in the past. This government has also the credit of setting new record by taking foreign exchange reserves up to USD 21 billion while, the GDP growth rate is now at 4.24 percent and Tax to GDP ratio has increased to 11 percent from 8.5 percent when the government took office.
Keeping in view the level of economic stability by the PML-N in only one year, he said, China came forward and got ready to invest USD 46 billion in Pakistan under China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“One receives assistance by friends (foreign countries) in earthquakes and floods situations but one is ready to do business and trade with you only if your economy is stable,” he said and mentioned that as usual, the PML-N is focusing on all the sectors of economy especially agriculture, industry, SMEs, micro finance etc for collective development and prosperity.
He said the PML-N government had increased the development expenditure to Rs 700 billion from Rs 316 billion within two years only.
The Finance Minister said the government was making tax collection system more simple, as it wanted to take the tax-to-GDP ratio to 15 percent so that Pakistan developed on her own finances and resources.
He said, Pakistan could easily rise as big economy on the world map for which everyone would have to play their role and “We have to separate politics from economy for a while.” In this way, he was of the view, Pakistan could also easily attain six to seven percent growth rate.
Ishaq Dar said the government was also taking effective steps to end energy crisis and 10,000MW would be added into the national grid by March 2018, and that is not all, as the government had planned keeping in view future and industrial needs of power, therefore, work had been initiated on a number of medium-term power projects.
He mentioned that work is underway on another 14000MW projects including 4500MW Dasu- hydro-power project, Diamir-Bhasha Dam, Karachi nuclear power project and Terbela Extension etc.
The government also managed to restore overall peace in the country especially in Karachi, Balochistan and tribal areas (NWA), he said and added that Armed Forces deserve great appreciation for making the Zarb-e-Azb a successful operation against terrorists.
The Federal Minister congratulated the young officers on successful completion of their training and called upon them to follow Quaid-i-Azam’s quote: ‘work, work and work’ and play their due and effective role through their commitment and hard work in the economic development of the country.
“You are the young blood and have the ability to rectify the system so you do perform well for bright future of Pakistan and must not let any unfair activity in your domain,” he added.
The Finance Minister also assured that all possible resources would be provided to change the work culture in the tax collection machinery, adding that strengthening of institutions was also priority of the government.
“We are also fully focused on the jobs creation through economic growth.” He also announced that Pakistan Tax Medal would be launched after finalizing its modalities with the authorities concerned.
Earlier, PM’s Special Assistant on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan appreciated Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar and his team for reviving and taking the country’s economy to new heights.
At the end, the Finance Minister gave away certificates and shields among the passing out officers.
The Finance Minister and DOT DG also presented shields to each other as memento to the ceremony.