Strengthening of energy infrastructure key to achieve higher economic growth: Dar

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 02 (APP): Minister for Finance Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Friday said the strengthening of energy infrastructure and improvement in security situation will be the key to achieving higher levels of growth in Pakistan.

Addressing the participants of National Security Workshop at Institute
for Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis (ISSRA), National Defence Univerisity, he noted that the slowdown in the global economy had posed a risk for Pakistan like other developing economies.

The minister was received by Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmed Butt and DG ISSRA Major General Ghulam Qamar and senior officials of the college.

The finance minister spoke on the Economic Policy of Pakistan and shared the perspective on Pakistan’s economy, the challenges faced by the government in 2013, steps taken for fostering growth and the roadmap for future economic growth in the country.

The minister said when the government came to office our priority
was to re-fix the economy and bring macro-economic stability. Prior to 2013, the country was faced with serious challenges like macro-economic instability, frequent power outages and dire security situation.

Agriculture, large scale manufacturing and services sectors were all underperforming. The foreign exchange reserve position had reached precarious levels; the interest rates and inflation were high. The external sector was heavily out of balance, and the performance of state owned enterprises had severely deteriorated.

The incumbent government had paid attention to all these issues and
achieved considerable success in resolving them. We took necessary and difficult steps to avoid predicted default, and ensure fiscal discipline and consolidation.

In this regard, we undertook structural reforms, including restructuring
Pubic Sector Enterprises, and other measures including reduction in un-targeted subsidies and broadened the tax base. Measures were also taken to build foreign exchange reserves, contain inflation and overcome energy shortages.

Now, our country ratings have been improved by Rating Agency as acknowledgement of our achievements, he added.

The workshop members included Senators, MNAs, MPAs, senior military
officers, bureaucrats, Ambassadors and representatives of the civil society.