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All out steps to be taken for country's economic uplift: PM.

ISLAMABAD -- Prime Minister Justice (r) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso Monday said that all out steps would be taken to improve country's economy.

"Though the primary objective of the government is to hold free, fair and transparent elections, the government is cognizant that the economic stability of the country was equally important."

He stated this in the opening remarks during 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 Secretariat.

The Prime Minister, who was 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.

He directed the Ministry of Finance to focus on exploring ways and means to ensure that the revenue targets set in the budget were achieved.

The Prime Minister was given a comparative analysis of the economy since 2008.

Khoso was informed that foreign remittances were projected at 14.5 billion dollars, which was 4.6 billion dollars in 2005-06. Similarly inflation which was hovering around 20 % has been brought down to 9% whereas in March 2013, the inflation rate was 6.6 %.

He was told that Karachi Stock Exchange was booming, stimulated by reports of new portfolio investment by foreign investors.

The Secretary Finance Nasir Khosa said that the inability to increase tax to GDP ratio, which was around 9.5% of the GDP was a serious concern. The Gross Domestic Product of the country was estimated at Rs 23 trillion per annum.

Prime Minister Khoso was informed that Pakistan was meeting its international obligations and foreign exchange reserves stood at 11.7 billion dollars.

The Prime Minister was told that the economy 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 five 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 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.

He said the State Bank was striving to encourage the use of official channels by Pakistanis working abroad.

In response to a question regarding efforts of State Bank of Pakistan to eliminate hundi system (informal channels), the prime minister was informed that Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) launched by the government envisages that both the remitter and beneficiary would be exempt from transfer charges, which in certain cases was prohibitive specially for those workers sending 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 Rs 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 was 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.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Apr 9, 2013
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