ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Minister for Finance Muhammad Ishaq Dar Saturday said the government was determined to achieve 7 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate by 2018.
Addressing a pre-budget 2016-17 conference organized by Jang Group here, he said the government had achieved macro-economic stability which was recognized by 22 reputed international organizations.
Now it was focusing on upward growth trajectory and jobs creation in order to cater for the growing workforce of the country, he added.
Highlighting the government’s achievements, he said in 2013, when the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) came into power, the people had to face over 20 hour power load-shedding every day.
Due to increasing budget deficit, decreasing revenue collection and depleting foreign exchange reserves, the country was on the verge of bankruptcy, he added.
All the leading international financial institutions, he said, had stopped doing business and financing developmental projects in Pakistan.
However, due to prudent policies and the steps taken by the government, the economy had not only turned around with in three years but now it was making fast-track development with all economic indicators showing resilience also.
Dar said in order to bring fiscal discipline, all discretionary funds of the ministries and departments, including those of the Prime Minister, had been abolished.
The government, he said, had also decided to withdraw tax exceptions of Rs 300 billion. Tax exceptions for Rs 120 billion had been phased out in the first financial year while some were removed during the current year and the rest in next financial year.
He said the consolidated efforts had started bearing results as revenue collection witnessed 56 per cent increase during last three years.
Now the GDP was growing at 4.5 per cent ane budget deficit reduced to 4.5 per cent from 7 per cent of last financial year while remittances and foreign exchange reserves were also showing significant increase, he said.
Apprising the future strategies, the minister said the PML-N government was working on four Es of economy, energy, education and extremism, which was the part of its election manifesto.
He said the macro-economic stability had been achieved and the operation Zarb-e-Azb was successfully heading towards its conclusion (i.e., complete elimination of (against terrorism and extremism) while a comprehensive plan was devised to add about 10,000 MW more electricity (to the national grid) by 2018.
In long term, he said the government was working on mega energy development projects, including hydro, coal, solar, wind and nuclear, which would produce about 25000 MW electricity.
Ishaq Dar stressed the need for formulating a Charter of Economy by all the political forces of the country for taking the economy ahead.
He asked for avoiding leg pulling and indulging in baseless allegations which would harm the national economy.
The Finance Minister said the Prime Minister had presented himself and his family for accountability and wrote a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan to form a commission for investigating the Panama Papers issue.
He said the government believe in transparency and good governance.
He appreciated the organizers for organizing the event and assured that the suggestions and recommendations of the conference would be incorporated in the next budget.
Speaking on the occasion, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Nisar Muhammad Khan said the FBR had completed consultation with 26 representative organizations and their suggestions and proposals would be accommodated in the budget.
State Bank of Pakistan Deputy Governor Saeed Ahmad called for improving tax culture and capacity building to enhance revenue collection.
President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Vice Chairman SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Hafiz Pasha also spoke on the occasion.