Thursday May 30, 2024

'I can prove Pakistan won't default': FinMin Ishaq Dar

Finace Minister Ishaq Dar says that it is not his fault, but the system's that Pakistan's reserves are not $24 billion anymore

By Web Desk
December 28, 2022

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. — Screengrab
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. — Screengrab

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has once again made it clear that he can prove that Pakistan will not default and despite serious problems the country "will not approach Paris Club – a group of wealthy creditor nations.

The finance czar's statement came during his address at a ceremony at the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Wednesday. 

Dar said that he has always believed that Pakistan has a beautiful future and has a resilient economy. He, however, said that unfortunately the country has been put in a situation it doesn't deserve.

"The economic conditions were extremely bad in 2013 but we stabilised the economy in three years. Pakistan was on the verge of default in 2013 but we steered out of the crisis through good economic steps," he said. 

The minister said it has been three months since he took charge as the finance minister and every day it is said that the country will default. "How will there be a default? There is no chance that Pakistan will default," Dar reiterated. He admitted that the country is in a difficult spot but said that it will "survive" as things are being managed.

He said that everyone needs to work together for the country. 

He said that he is not at fault for the fact that the country's reserves are not $24 billion anymore as in 2016.

"That is not my fault. The fault is in the system and we must ensure Pakistan goes forward," Dar said.

He said that once again a rhetoric has started that bonds will not be paid, which gave rise to speculations.

"We didn't go to Paris Club but paid the bond in time," Dar said. 

The minister said that even after the bonds were paid, the "pseudo-intellectuals kept coming". He said that they are the same people who brought Pakistan to this point, warning Pakistanis to be conscious and not listen to them.

"I can prove to anyone in a discussion that Pakistan will not default but our problem is that for petty politics and objectives, we are harming the country," Dar said.

'We are our own worst enemy'

The minister said that Pakistan's debt-to-GDP ratio was 62% when he left the post of finance minister in 2016 and is now 72%.

He said that the debt-to-GDP ratio of United States is 110%, Japan's is 257% and UK's after COVID is 101%.

"I can give you data of dozens of developed countries who are above 100% but I don’t see alarm bells ringing there all the time on being under debt or difficulty," Dar said.

"Unfortunately, we are our own worst enemy," he added.

The finance czar urged the business community to allocate some time to Pakistan, saying they have "a big role to play" in strengthening the country's economy.