Business News
November 19,2015

Pakistan in sweet spot of lower deficit, more growth

Javed Mirza
KARACHI: Pakistan, likely to achieve its annual economic growth of 5.4 percent during the current fiscal year, is also on track to slash its fiscal deficit to 4.3 percent by the year end, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Wednesday.
“Fiscal deficit has been brought down from 8.4 percent in 2013 to 5.3 percent in two years and it would be dragged down to 4.3 percent, which is an internationally acceptable standard,” Dar told brokers at the launching ceremony of All Shares Islamic Index at the Karachi Stock Exchange .
The government believes the economy would grow much faster pace in the current 2015/16 fiscal year as all the major economic fundamentals were improving and international institutions and rating agencies were recognizing Pakistan as a stable country.
“Economic stability of Pakistan is our prime concern,” Dar said About economic fundamentals, the minister said tax revenues were increasing, which is due to increase in the number of taxpayers. “The number of tax assesses has crossed one million mark which was 0.7 million in 2013.”
Talking about the energy issue, he said PML-N government was making all efforts to secure energy security for the nation and a lot of projects had been initiated.
“As much as 10,000 MW would hopefully come online by March 2018 and a lot more would come even after the end of this tenure,” the minister added.
Dar said the Islamic Index was the need of hour, adding that more shariah compliant products should come in the future.
“Integration of stock exchanges would go a long way in the development of equity markets,” the minister said and urged the regulators to make arrangements for the listing of sovereign sukkuk with the stocks market.
Speaking on the occasion, Zafar Hijazi Chairman Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) said the integrated Pakistan Stock Exchange would be launched on January 01, 2016. “Governance and transparency are the prime challenges facing SECP as far as the equity markets are concerned”.
Hijazi criticized clearing agencies and said regulator was not satisfied with their performance. “Moreover, Institute of corporate governance is also not delivering,” he added.
Chairman Karachi Stock Exchange, Munir Kamal said the All Shares Islamic Index was an extension of KMI-30 index and it would provide avenues for individual as well as institutional investors willing to invest in Shariah complaint products.

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