Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, made a very noticeable comeback at his first appearance since his indictment on corruption charges as he dispelled the common belief that Pakistan is facing an economic emergency and will soon need to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due to depleting foreign exchange reserves.
The finance minister dismissed all the speculations that suggest that he is disengaged from his job because of the pressure of the court case against him. “The party and the prime minister will decide about my resignation,” he said when specifically asked the question.
“Just wait,” he said. “You will get your answer.”
He expressed his opinion in a press conference held at the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) headquarter. The minister was accompanied by the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar and FBR’s Chairman Tariq Pasha.
“There is no need to go to the IMF at the moment,” he said, pointing to the $14 billion in foreign exchange reserves.
“The country now stands on its own feet,” Dar claimed, adding that the government’s focus is now on achieving the 6% growth target for the current fiscal year. “Growth will take the economy in the right direction,” he explained.
It is pertinent to note that Dar admitted that net domestic debt increased to 61.6% of GDP in June from 60.2% in 2013. He attributed the increase in debt to three factors including: an increase in the security cost, expanding social safety nets and high expenditures on energy-related projects.
As for the World Bank’s report that puts the country’s external debt servicing obligations at $31 billion in the current fiscal year, Dar said that the global institution has admitted to the finance secretary that it “misinterpreted the economic data of Pakistan.” “It will be corrected soon,” he claimed.
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