Islamabad: Prime Minister Justice R Mir Hazar Khan Khoso was given a comprehensive briefing on the state of economy by senior officials of Ministry of Finance and the Governor State Bank of Pakistan at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat on Monday.
In his opening remarks the Prime Minister said that though the primary objective of the government was to hold free, fair and transparent elections, the government was cognizant that the economic stability of the country was equally important.
The Prime Minister said that all steps would be taken by his government for improving the country’s economy.
The Prime Minister, who is chairing the third meeting of Economic Managers, observed that prudent economic policies would be adopted by the government to keep it in the right direction.
The Prime Minister directed Ministry of Finance to focus on exploring ways and means to ensure that the revenue targets set in the budget are achieved.
The Prime Minister was given a comparative analysis of the economy between the period starting from 2008 and the present.
The Prime Minister was informed that foreign remittances were projected at 14.5 billion dollars which was 4.6 billion dollars in 20052006. Similarly inflation which was hovering around 20 % has been brought down to 9% whereas in March 2013, the inflation rate was 6.6 %.
The Karachi Stock Exchange, the Prime Minister was told, was booming stimulated by reports of new portfolio investment by foreign investors.
The Secretary Finance Mr. Nasir Khosa said that the inability to increase tax to GDP ratio which was around 9.5% of the GDP is a serious concern. The Gross Domestic Products of the country is estimated at Rs.23 trillion per annum.
The Prime Minister was informed that Pakistan was meeting its international obligations and foreign exchange reserves stand at 11.7 billion dollars.
The economy, the Prime Minister was told, was coming under pressure due to increase in expenditure and low revenue collection. This situation was further compounded because of higher salary bill which had doubled in the last 5 years from Rs.180 to Rs.340 billion.
Also more than Rs.2 trillion had been provided as subsidies including those given to the power sector.
The Governor State Bank Mr. Yaseen Anwer in his briefing about monetary situation of the country said that because of stringent management control put in place by the State Bank the currency market had demonstrated stability.
The Governor State Bank gave a presentation on streamlining and improving the foreign remittances in order to facilitate Pakistanis working abroad to send money to their loved ones.
The State Bank, the Governor said, is striving to encourage the use of official channels by Pakistanis working abroad.
In response to a question of the Prime Minister regarding efforts of State Bank of Pakistan to eliminate hundi system, he was informed that Pakistan Remittance Initiative PRI launched by the government envisages that both the remitter and beneficiary would be exempt from transfer a charge which in certain cases is prohibitive especially for those workers who sent smaller amounts.
The Secretary Finance informed the Prime Minister that his ministry had released Rs.3 billion to pick up the transfer charges involved in the telegraphic transfer of money and would also release another 2 billion on this account which would provide comfort to the State Bank of Pakistan.
The Governor State Bank said that a pilot module using information technology for ensuring real time transfer from anywhere to Pakistan is presently under trial.
Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, State Bank of Pakistan and officials of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat participated in the meeting.