Tuesday April 23, 2024

Ready to buy fuel from Russia on ‘India rate’: Dar

By News Desk
October 18, 2022

WASHINGTON: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is on an official visit to the United States (US), said on Monday Pakistan was ready to buy fuel from Russia on the rate it was providing to neighbouring country India.

While replying to a question by the media, he hoped that the West would also have no objection on import of the discounted fuel in the wake of Pakistan’s financial hardship due to unprecedented recent floods, which devastated large parts of the country.

The finance minister said the coalition government in Centre had enough time to return to political front. “Ten 10 months are enough for the government to restore its political prestige and win popularity.

“We were to select one thing among the two: either to save our politics or the state. We opted for the second,” he said while commenting on the by-polls results. To a question about US President Biden’s statement on Pakistan’s nuclear programme, he said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had already said that a robust command and control system was in place in the country. The US authorities also acknowledge it often, he added.

Ishaq Dar said: “I have held 58 meetings with the heads of international financial institutions, the US, Saudi Arabia and other countries’ authorities during my 4-day stay in Washington.”

He said the World Bank (WB) and the UK hosted a roundtable conference to discuss floods in Pakistan. The UNDP, ADB and the WB authorities presented a joint report there, he added. According to the report, Pakistan suffered losses to the tune of $32.40 billion due to floods. More than $16 billion are needed by Pakistan for the rehabilitation work,” the minister said.

He said a forceful appeal was made to the international community in the conference for helping Pakistan. He said Pakistan would complete the existing IMF programme till June 2023, and fulfil all its obligations. “We are committed to reforms. About five to 10 per cent work is pending, which will be completed soon,” he added.

The minister said the donors had no objection over targeted subsidies. They were opposed to general subsidies. He said that the IMF, in its objection, perhaps referred to the electricity subsidy the government was providing. “We are doing nothing without their consultations,” he made it clear.

Ishaq Dar expressed optimism that Pakistan would get out of the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). He said that Pakistan worked hard to exit the grey list. A meeting was expected in a few days and the government was hopeful that the country would come out of the FATF grey list, he hoped.

Earlier, Ishaq Dar met Pakistani-American tech entrepreneurs and discussed the role of IT sector in Pakistan’s economic development. The tech entrepreneurs assured the finance minister of cooperation in strengthening the IT sector in Pakistan. Ishaq Dar also met the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC). Engineer Hani Salem appreciated the support of Pakistan to the ITFC.