ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that the prolonged protests against the government are causing delay in three major economic deals.
He said this while talking to the Asian Development Bank’s newly-appointed president Takehiko Nakao. However, Ishaq Dar assured Nakao that the government would resolve the issue amicably as it had already constituted a committee on electoral reforms, said an official statement.
Briefing the ADB official on the economic condition of the country, the finance minister said the government was following a pro-development macro-economic agenda. He said that the government could have added $2.4 billion to the foreign exchange reserves but the latest political crisis has delayed three important transactions, including the issue of Sukuk, divestment of Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDCL) shares and International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) next tranche release,” he said.
“Improvements can be seen in revenue collection (16.44%), decrease in budget deficit (5.7%), growth in foreign remittances (13.7%), growth in large-scale manufacturing (4.2%) and the increase in the disbursement of agricultural credit (15.91%),” he said.
Dar said the government had also increased spending on the social safety net and the allocation had increased from a mere Rs40 billion to Rs118 billion in the last 14 months. “We ensured that no cuts were made in the Public Sector Development Programme allocations,” he added.
The minister said Pakistan needed the ADB’s support on Diamer-Bhasha dam as resolving the energy crisis was the priority of the government.
“World Bank is going to hold a Business Opportunity Conference in Washington on October 8 and we are going to discuss the Diamer-Bhasha dam project in the conference because it has vital importance for generating energy as well as water conservation,” he told the ADB president.
The minister said the government wanted to proceed with TAPI and CASA-1000 projects for fulfilling the energy needs of the country in near future.