Islamabad, December 16: (PR) The Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar called on His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan this morning and briefed him about the state of economy and the measures taken by the government to redress macro-economic imbalances inherited by the present PML-N Government.
Welcoming His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan to Pakistan, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar said that the government and the people of Pakistan acknowledge the contributions of His Highness in the social sector with particular reference to Pakistan.
His Highness expressed satisfaction over the work being done by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Pakistan and expressed a keen desire to expand their operations in Pakistan. Islam, His Highness said, teaches to work honorably, earn and share it with the people.
Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar briefed His Highness that the PML-N government had inherited an economy with severe macro-economic imbalances and apprised him of the measures taken by the PML-N Government to address them so that the economy could be revived and put on a path of sustainable growth. The Finance Minister said that the medium term economic frame work of the PML – N Government envisages a decrease in the fiscal deficit from 8 to 4%, increase in growth rate from the present 3% to 7% by the end of next three years, increase in investment to GDP ratio to 20% and building up of foreign exchange reserves to $20 billion. In this connection he recounted the measures taken in the budget, clearance of circular debt and the conclusion of a programme with IMF which he said have started showing results as the business community has responded positively and the results of the first quarter have been encouraging. Besides an increase of 25% in KSE index reflects the confidence of investors in the policies of the government, he added.
The Finance Minister said that the International Financial Institutions have now started approaching Pakistan and expressed the confidence that foreign exchange reserve position would improve soon. The Finance Minister said that the PML-N Government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is committed to good governance, transparency, zero tolerance for corruption, merit and maintenance of strict financial discipline.
His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan appreciated the PML-N Government for increasing the allocation for social safety net from Rs.40 billion to Rs.75 billion.
The Finance Minister said that the government has initiated the Prime Minister Youth Programme. Presently National Bank ofPakistan and the First Women Bank are participating in the programme. The government, he said, was ready to extend similar conditions to Habib Bank Limited.
His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan said that small and medium enterprises have critical role in the economy and welcomed the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme and that he would direct Habib Bank Limited to prepare a feasibility.
The Finance Minister also drew the attention of His Highness to the auction of spectrum license by the Government of Pakistan and hoped that Aga Khan Network would participate.
The Finance Minister said that the PML-N government is working on different projects to add quantum generation into the National Grid and invited Aga Khan to invest in the energy sector especially in the hydel generation as the River Indus has the potential of generating 90,000MW of electricity.
The Finance Minister also requested His Highness to diversify the investment of AKDN in Pakistan and look into Public Sector Entities which the government intends to disinvest in future.