United Kingdom delegation led by Secretary of State for International Development calls on Finance Minister

Islamabad, July 10, 2013 (PPI-OT): A delegation led by Ms Justine Greening, UK Secretary of State for International Development met the Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar at his office this afternoon.

In his opening remarks, the Finance Minister said that Pakistan values the UK Department for International Development Fund (DFID) Programme in Pakistan and briefed the delegation on the steps taken by the Government of Pakistan to reset the economy and address macro-economic imbalances.

Senator Ishaq Dar said that the government has taken various measures in the present budget to increase the social safety net which include increase in allocation in Income Support Programme from Rs.40 billion to Rs.70 billion, expansion of education to students belonging to three Southern Divisions of Punjab, Malakand, Kohistan and Dera Ismail Khan in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and interior Sindh. The government would hold the hands of students for another 12 months and pay them stipends of 10,000 rupees per month by arranging their internship in private and public sector organizations. Hopefully, by that time they would be able to find jobs and earn a decent livelihood.

The budget, the Finance Minister said has set an ambitious revenue target of Rs.2745 billion which would achieve through good governance, broadening of tax net, identifying 100,000 new tax payers this year, plugging leakages and posting of officials in the revenue department who are competent and have good reputation.

Senator Ishaq Dar said that increase in general sales tax by one percent, granting the Federal Board of Revenue the connectivity to banks and levy of half a percent tax on immovable assets over one million are some of the measures taken by government to enhance revenues and achieve the target.

Dilating on the energy situation, the Finance Minister said that the government has already cleared circular debt of Rs.322billion owed to private power companies which would help in optimal utilization of their capacity. The Prime Minister, he said will soon announce an energy policy which envisages power project based on low fuel cost. Our problem has been energy mix which was 75% dependent on furnace oil, he added.

Senator Ishaq Dar requested he UK Secretary of State for International Development that Pakistan would be interested to learn from the experience and expertise of Her majesty Royal Custom Service.

Ms. Justine Greening said that DFID is looking forward to work with the Government of Pakistan. She said that the initial steps taken by the Government of Pakistan were “impressive, setting the right momentum and the tone”. We recognize the uniquely strong mandate given to your government by the people of Pakistan”, she added.

Ms Justine Greening said that she is delighted that Pakistan would be one of the first countries into which Her Majesty’s Custom Service would share its expertise for expanding tax net.

Ms Justine Greening said that while the planning is extremely critical from her experience as Treasury Secretary she can share that delivery is what is even more difficult, she observed.

Ms Justine Greening assured the Finance Minister that DFID will work closely with the Government of Pakistan to overcome the economic challenges faced by the government.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326
Email: piopid@gmail.com

Leave a Reply