Karachi December 28 2022: Federal Finance and Revenue Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Wednesday while rejecting the rumors about Pakistan’s going to default assured that Pakistan has resilience and will survive all challenges. Pakistan has a very beautiful future. However, he stressed on joint and targeted efforts by the public and private sectors to come out of this pressing economic situation.
These words were expressed by the Finance Minister (through a video link) at the ceremony held here. The Pakistan Stock Exchange celebrated the first listing of a development REIT titled “Globe Residence REIT.”
It was largely attended by capital market players, leasing businessmen and bankers. The prominent were PSX Chairperson PSX Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, its MD, Fauukh H. Khan and Arif Habib.
Dar condemned that certain elements involved in dirty politics were active in disinformation about the country’s economic condition and created chaos where the people had started buying gold and dollars.
He expressed his satisfaction with the listing of another RIET at PSX. However, he observed, Pakistan could not progress much on this account since the first REIT was listed in 2015. He referred India who had a high REIT portfolio.
He said when he took over as the Federal Finance Minister on September 28, 2022, he identified the areas with a special focus on the corporate sector, the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan and the Pakistan Stock Exchange.
He regretted that SECP, which is the regulator of the capital market of the country, performed not satisfactorily over the last couple of years. However, he has taken certain concrete steps.
During his previous tenure, Dar added, he along with his team worked hard and brought many amendments to the SCEP laws including its outdated Act. And, he continued, helped give a boost to the capital market of the country.
He recalled the challenges in the merger of the Karachi Stock Exchange, Lahore Stock Exchange and Islamabad Stock Exchange into one entity branded as the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), which helped the Pakistan stock market to emerge as the fifth leading market in the world. “I wish those golden days come back.”
He assured Arif Habib and PSX’s Managing Director Farrukh H. Khan that Commissioner SECP Abid Saeed along with his team would sit with them and work out the proposals submitted by them to the logical conclusion.
He would also ask Federal Board of Revenue authorities to join and work on these proposals
The Finance Minister thanked the business community of the country for their support to the government’s policies and decisions aimed at strengthening the national economy.
He mentioned that in 2013 with the support of the business community the PML-N Government turn around the sinking economy.
He said that because of the defective policies and non-professional approach by the previous government, today Pakistan’s economy has serious challenges mainly financial stress.
“Today, we are knocking on doors for even a little amount of one billion dollars,” he said adding that today Pakistan had reached the point that it did not deserve.
Senator Ishaq Dar said he had also a session with Governor State Bank of Pakistan Jameel Ahmed on prioritizing the imports in the country and that the Central Bank yesterday issued a guideline to the commercial banks to facilitate the imports of essential items like food, medicine, industrial raw materials and machinery, especially for the exports ordinated units.
He hoped that soon forex reserves and remittances portfolio would improve.
He clarified that Pakistan’s debt-to-GDP ratio was 72 percent which was lower than many countries and this suggested a comfortable situation.
The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue mentioned the main reasons behind the pressure on the availability of dollars — dollars, wheat and fertilizers were being smuggled to a neighboring country while big stocks of wheat and fertilizers were being imported which were provided to the people at a very subsidized price.
That cost heavily to the Government in terms of dollars.
Our law enforcing agencies were reacting tough to the smuggling and would control it, he said. He said that recent floods had also left serious challenges for the government.
He assured that the agreement with IMF would be successfully signed. It was only PML-N governments who always successfully dealt with IMF. “We have brought IMF back in six months,” he commented.
The Government was trying to provide possible relief to the people. Soon the Inflation would start to come down and correct the balance of payments would also be rectified, along with taking steps to bring down the current account deficit of the country.
He showed his confidence that Pakistan’s capital market would progress.
The Finance and Revenue Minister said instead of looking outside sources like Paris Club, “Our ultimate goal should be strengthening our domestic capital market and make the best use of indigenous resources.”
He said the government was also working on launching more Special Economic Zones and strengthening the agriculture sector to keep intact the food security of the country, rather than going for surplus.