Govt poli­cies put coun­try on track of de­vel­op­ment, progress: Dar

Re­it­er­ates pro­posal for up­per cap­ping of oil prices

Pakistan Observer - - FRONT PAGE - MOSCOW—

Fed­eral Fi­nance Min­is­ter Se­na­tor Ishaq Dar has said that poli­cies adopted by the in­cum­bent gov­ern­ment in Pak­istan has put the coun­try on the track of de­vel­op­ment and progress and ben­e­fit of de­crease in prices of POL would be trans­ferred to masses for fa­cil­i­tat­ing them max­i­mum.

Talk­ing to prom­i­nent Rus­sian TV chan­nel Rus­sia To­day and other me­dia in­sti­tu­tions here, Ishaq Dar re­it­er­ated his pro­posal for up­per cap­ping of oil prices, help­ing un­der­de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries to ef­fec­tively man­age their oil bills which can have pos­i­tive im­pact on their economies.

The Min­is­ter said, he had put forth this pro­posal ear­lier in 2008 at ADB meet­ing in Madrid and em­pha­sized that there should be up­per cap­ping (ceil­ing price) so that oil prices are not raised un­re­al­is­ti­cally. Now when de­vel­op­ing coun­tries were im­port­ing/us­ing much larger quan­ti­ties of oil as com­pared to 2008, it would be con­ve­nient for them if there was a ceil­ing price fixed by the pro­duc­ers, the Min­is­ter said. He said un­due surge in the oil prices nearly crip­ples mid­dle level economies.

Re­ply­ing to a ques­tion whether dip in oil prices was caused by sur­plus in the global mar­kets or it was be­cause of pres­sures ex­erted by some states seek­ing geo-po­lit­i­cal gains, Dar said that oil is the most geo-po­lit­i­cally im­por­tant com­mod­ity, and any struc­tural change in oil mar­kets will re­ver­ber­ate through­out the world, cre­at­ing clear cut win­ners and losers. The drop in oil prices is mainly due to sur­plus, he said.

An­swer­ing ques­tion on the sit-ins, the Min­is­ter said the gov­ern­ment at the on­set of po­lit­i­cal tur­moil caused by sit-ins suf­fered huge losses. But since the eco­nomic base has been strength­ened by a num­ber of pol­icy mea­sures, the business ac­tiv­i­ties are back on track. The poli­cies adopted by the gov­ern­ment have changed the eco­nomic di­rec­tion of the coun­try and put econ­omy on the road of re­cov­ery, sta­bil­ity and eco­nomic pros­per­ity. The eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties in Pak­istan are con­tin­u­ously im­prov­ing. The GDP grew by 4.14 per­cent in FY 201314 and for FY 201415, GDP tar­get has been es­ti­mated at 5.1%. The re­cent auc­tion of Sukkuk bond has given pos­i­tive sig­nal of in­vestors’ con­fi­dence in gov­ern­ment’s poli­cies, the Min­is­ter said. Dar added the gov­ern­ment wanted to re­solve the is­sue of sit-in through di­a­logue but the other side must also re­spond pos­i­tively.

On a ques­tion re­gard­ing visit of Afghan Pres­i­dent and Pak­istan’s ef­forts for re­con­struc­tion in Afghanistan, the Min­is­ter re­marked Pak­istan is ac­tively par­tic­i­pat­ing in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity’s ef­forts for the re­con­struc­tion and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of Afghanistan. Gov­ern­ment of Pak­istan, so far, has ear­marked a grant of US $ 500.00 mil­lion un­der the Prime Min­is­ter’s Pro­gram for this pur­pose. Var­i­ous de­vel­op­ment projects in health, ed­u­ca­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sec­tors are be­ing ex­e­cuted un­der this pro­gram. Thir­teen projects have been com­pleted and eight are on­go­ing, the Min­is­ter added.

On pos­si­ble Rus­sian par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Pak Steel Mill re­vamp­ing, the Min­is­ter said as far as Pak­istan Steel Mill is con­cerned, Pak­istan ac­tu­ally looks for a strate­gic part­ner­ship in this re­gard. The pro­posal re­gard­ing the in­ter­est shown by Rus­sian In­vestors was con­sid­ered in the Pak-Rus­sian In­ter-Gov­ern­men­tal Com­mis­sion . An MoU in this re­gard was signed be­tween Min­istry of In­dus­tries and Pro­duc­tion and the Rus­sian Gov­ern­ment on 13th April, 2012. De­tails of the pro­posal shall be finalized in due course.

Re­gard­ing a ques­tion that in what di­rec­tions in­ter­ac­tion be­tween Pak-Rus­sian Banks may be en­hanced, Ishaq Dar said in this era fi­nan­cial ser­vices have ap­peared as the most sig­nif­i­cant driver of eco­nomic growth. Thus there is need of open­ing of bank branches in each other coun­tries to fa­cil­i­tate the pri­vate sec­tor for ex­chang­ing and mar­ket­ing of prod­ucts in Rus­sia as well as in Pak­istan.

On re­cent en­hance­ment in in­ter­ac­tion be­tween Rus­sia and Pak­istan, the Min­is­ter said Pak-Rus­sia bi­lat­eral re­la­tions are on an up­ward tra­jec­tory. In­ter­ac­tion be­tween the two coun­tries has been on an in­crease at the po­lit­i­cal as well as at the level of the par­lia­men­tar­i­ans. The Chair­man Se­nate vis­ited Rus­sia in April 2014. The Speaker Na­tional Assem­bly of Pak­istan vis­ited Rus­sia in May 2014. The Ad­vi­sor to the Prime Min­is­ter on Na­tional Se­cu­rity and For­eign Af­fairs vis­ited Rus­sia in June 2014. The Sec­ond Round of Pak-Rus­sia Strate­gic Di­a­logue held in Is­lam­abad in Oc­to­ber 2014, Dar said re­viewed po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, par­lia­men­tary and cul­tural re­la­tions. Pos­si­bil­i­ties were also ex­plored for en­hanc­ing co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous sec­tors in­clud­ing en­ergy. The two coun­tries con­cluded the Joint Work­ing Group Meet­ing on En­ergy on 21 Novem­ber 2014. We were also happy re­ceive the Rus­sian De­fense Min­is­ter last week. The Third Ses­sion of the Pak-Rus­sia In­ter-Gov­ern­men­tal Com­mis­sion on 26-28 Novem­ber 2014 has sim­i­larly of­fered a valu­able op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss ways and means of en­hanc­ing eco­nomic re­la­tions.

On a ques­tion specif­i­cally re­gard­ing Pak-Rus­sia In­ter­Gov­ern­men­tal Com­mis­sion meet­ing, the Min­is­ter said the third Ses­sion of the IGC on 26-28 Novem­ber fo­cused on en­hanc­ing co­op­er­a­tion in the fields of trade, com­merce, in­vest­ments, agri­cul­ture, en­ergy etc. It car­ried for­ward the work of the pre­vi­ous ses­sions held in 2010 and 2012 and help the two sides to ex­plore the full po­ten­tial of co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous sec­tors. Pak­istan and Rus­sia con­tinue to co­op­er­ate at var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional fora and share common views on most in­ter­na­tional and global is­sues. There are no im­ped­i­ments in the re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries, the Min­ster said.— INP

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