Revival of economy top priority: PM

Thursday, 2 January 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said revival of economy is the top most priority of the government and it is working on a comprehensive strategy to achieve the goal. Addressing special meeting of the federal cabinet in Islamabad yesterday‚ he said the Government is working to overcome energy crisis‚ which has crippled economy and social life of the people. The Prime Minister said the Government has devised a comprehensive long and short-term policy in this regard. He said projects are being launched to generate cheap electricity through coal‚ wind‚ hydel and solar resources. Nawaz Sharif said the Government is also taking measures to reduce line losses and improve power distribution system‚ which can help reduce load shedding. The Prime Minister said Japan International Cooperation Agency has committed to fund Karachi Circular Railway project. He said JICA will provide up to two billion dollars for the project and soon talks on this project with the Japanese agency will be initiated. He welcomed positive criticism on the Government policies. Briefing Federal Cabinet, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said due to the Government’s economic measures in six months‚ budget deficit has been reduced from 8.8 to 8.2%. He said a 30% cut in the budgets of all ministries and affiliated departments and 40% in the finance ministry have been made on the directives of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He said the discretionary funds of the PM and all ministers have also been abolished‚ which will save 40 billion rupees annually. He said an additional amount of 2 billion rupees will be saved‚ as there will be a bar on secretaries not to become part of any board. The Finance Minister said the Government has banned the import of duty free vehicles to improve national economy. He said the present government cleared the circular debt of four hundred and eighty billion rupees within forty five days after coming into power. He said 1700 MW electricity has been added to system after payment of the circular debt. The Finance Minister dispelled the impression that notes were printed to pay circular debt. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar vowed to increase the country’s foreign reserves up to $ 16 billion in twelve months after tackling current account deficit. He said the Government is vigorously pursuing with non-conventional sources including launch of Euro bonds and Remittances-based bonds. The Finance Minister said through GSP Plus status‚ exports of the country are expected to increase by $ 1.5 to $ 2 billion. He said $ 800 million from Etisalat will soon be recovered.