Govt policies put country on track of development, progress: Dar
Reiterates proposal for upper capping of oil prices
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