MD IMF visit to Pakistan an acknowledgement of economic reform agenda undertaken by government:Dar

ISLAMABAD, Oct 24 (APP): Finance Minister, Senator Mohammed Ishaq
Dar said on Monday that the visit of MD IMF to Pakistan was an acknowledgement of the economic reform agenda undertaken by the government during the last three years, which the country has moved to the macro economic stability road from a position of instability, which prevailed in 2013.

He stated this while giving an overview of the economy and welcoming the visiting Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the major factor which led to the successful completion of the IMF
programme was the election Manifesto of April 2013 of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which provided a roadmap of economic reforms to be followed after winning the general elections 2013 under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and formed the basis of economic policies of “our government including our negotiation with the IMF for the Extended Fund Facility”.

Dar said that Pakistan’s economy continued to maintain its growth momentum above 4.0 percent for the 3rd year in a row with real GDP
growing at 4.71 percent in FY 2016, which was the highest in eight years.

Inflation, he said has been brought down to single digit at 2.86 percent in FY 2016, the lowest in decades.

He added that prudent fiscal and effective monetary policies,
coupled with regular monitoring of prices both at federal and provincial level, along with decline in international commodities and fuel prices,
has helped in containing inflation.

Dar said due to prudent economic polices of the government and
merger of stock exchanges into one Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSE) has become the best performing market.

He added that despite tension of Line of Control (LOC) , Pakistan
has successfully floated Sukuk Bonds worth US$ 1 billion in iternational market at a rate of 5.5 percent.

The present government also passed on the benefits of reduction in
international oil prices to consumers, he remarked.

“Our government’s strong commitment to supporting the poor and most vulnerable segments of our population is reflected in our social
protection initiatives. This government has nearly doubled the budget allocated to the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), Pakistan’s
largest social protection initiative, which has enabled increase in
coverage from 3.7 million families to 5.6 million families”, he remarked.
Ishaq Dar said government has decided to establish Pakistan Infrastructure Investment Company by end on this month.

He also appreciated the role of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPEF) for its effort to help the poor in alleviation of poverty in the country.

Welcoming the guest, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Ashraf Mahmood Wathra said Ms Christine Lagarde has not only led the IMF judiciously during a time of global economic and financial stress, but it also has been under her leadership that the IMF has forged successful
collaborations with many emerging countries for their economic betterment.

In his opening speech the Governor highlighted the conditions
leading to a balance of payment crisis and under which Pakistan entered
into an IMF’s External Fund Facility Program back in 2013.

‘The economy was mired in persistent energy deficiencies,
declining development expenditures, rising inflation, and meager foreign exchange reserves,’ the governor said.

‘As a result, the country’s economic potential was on the
decline and investor confidence was badly shaken, he added. Wathra also briefly mentioned financial sector reforms carried out during incumbent regime to restore much needed macroeconomic stability and investors’ confidence.

Governor Wathra remarked with that with rising growth, stability
and consolidation of reforms, the future for Pakistan is very promising.