With decreasing imports, pressure on Pakistan’s economy will be reduced from next month: Miftah Ismail
Says we have saved county from default while making tough decisions
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Dr. Miftah Ismail Ahmed has said that incumbent government has saved the country from default by implementing prudent economic policies. Miftah Ismail said that we have saved county from default while making tough decisions.
Addressing a press conference along with Coordinator to Prime Minister on Economy and Energy Bilal Azhar Kayani in Islamabad on Sunday, Miftah Ismail said that country’s import bill has decreased by 2.7 billion dollars in the current month as the country imported goods worth five billion dollars only in this month as compared to 7.7 billion dollars in the previous month.
The minister said with decreasing imports, pressure on Pakistan’s economy will be reduced from the next month. Miftah Ismail said that the Economic Coordination Committee has approved to remove ban on imports except cars, mobile phones and home appliances, adding that still prime minister and federal cabinet have not approved this.
He said that government is determined to minimize the current account deficit and steps are being taken to widen the tax net.
Miftah Ismail said that that Pakistani rupee, which has taken a beating against the US dollar in recent weeks, should see some improvement in the two weeks. “I really think although I never like to speculate on the currency market but I really think that the rupee’s true value is far greater,” the finance minister said.
He explained that in the past two months, Pakistan had to part with “a billion and another billion that put pressure on the local currency. Miftah Ismail said that efforts will be geared towards more dollars coming daily and fewer leaving the country next month. “With our efforts to reduce imports and God willing, with the daily rise in incoming dollars versus a decline in outgoing units, there will be a surplus [of dollars],” he said. “This will lead to a reduced pressure on the rupee and the dollar’s value against the rupee should then see a slight drop,” the minister added. Miftah Ismail said that he has hope that the “next two weeks will, God willing, be better.”
He cautioned, though, that although this is his view since he believes “the fundamentals are in Pakistan’s favour,” but speculation and sentiments also play a role in this. The finance minister, to a question on what the government plans to do to arrest the rising inflation, Miftah Ismail said: “It is the prime objective of every finance minister to curb inflation and focus on growth. My number one priority has never been to control inflation or to bring growth. My priority has only been to save Pakistan from default.” To describe just how grave a situation the country could have fallen into before being saved, he spoke of Sri Lanka, which recently declared bankruptcy. The minister said: “Of late, petrol in the country cost 90 rupees and was sold at 3,000 rupees in the black market, hospitals shut down due to medicines running out, women would stand in line for three days to get gas to power their stoves, and one had to queue up for 10 days to get petrol.”
In criticism of the past rulers, said that the PTI-led government increased the country’s debt by Rs 20,000 billion in the last three-and-a-half years. Through Utility Stores Corporation, the government provided cheep sugar, oil, wheat flour and rice, he said.
On a question in connection with the appointment of governor of State Bank of Pakistan, he said that this appointment will be made in ensuing week, adding that he being a finance minster has also been consulted in this regard.
Replying a question, he said that the last prior action regarding the IMF deal with be done today (Monday).