Govt to seek finances for Diamer-Bhasha dam

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ISLAMABAD: The Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that the government accords top priority to construction of water reservoirs and shall attract finances to construct Diamer Bhasha dam.


He was talking to Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan Lars-Gunnar Wigemark on Tuesday.


The envoy said the EU will extend all technical assistance and support to the government in its efforts to revive the economy and create good governance, rule of law and public welfare.


Senator Ishaq Dar said that the future of Pakistan’s economy lies in resource mobilisation and revenue generation.


He said a challenge faced by the government is to clear circular debt of five billion dollars. With $3.2 billion having already been paid to private power producers, the government now aims at footing the remaining bill of $1.8 billion by the end of this month, he told the delegation.


“We have made certain budgetary provisions and measures to ensure that the circular debt does not recur,” he said.


He said a major reason behind energy crisis is skewed energy mix, depending 75 percent on furnace oil.


The new energy policy scheduled to be announced by the prime minister envisages projects based on low-cost fuels, he added.


The finance minister said that the conditionalities of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were in line with the national interests and commitment made by Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) in its manifesto. He said Pakistan is committed to all its international obligations and the negotiation with IMF was designed to achieve this objective.


The successful negotiation has had a positive impact as now international financial institutions are approaching Pakistan to extend financial assistance, he said, urging the EU delegation members to use their influence on the board of directors of IMF.


The finance minister said that the government had decided to reduce the number of ministries and work with a smaller cabinet – 28 ministries far below the 49 members permitted by the constitution.


On a reservation that the present government is giving less priority to human rights, he assured the EU envoy, “there shall be no compromise on human rights.”


He said the solution to macroeconomic imbalances would provide fiscal space to the government to give relief in taxes to industry and people.


The microfinance programme has reached out to 2.5 million families, he said, adding around 7.5 million families are estimated to deserve microfinance assistance. The markup rate currently at 20 percent would also be brought down, Dar said.

Courtesy:   The News

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