‘Development work won’t be stopped despite economic woes’

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  • Finance minister says it is difficult to generate resources when the govt is facing Rs600bn deficit on electricity and gas

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar has vowed that development work will not be stopped in the country despite prevalent economic woes.

“I am going to hold negotiations with International Monetary Fund (IMF) next month,” the finance minister announced while inspecting the construction of a double-crossing bridge at Tarnol’s GT Road on Saturday.

Umar clarified that the federal government was not cutting a single penny in funds allocated for the development projects initiated under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“It is difficult to generate resources when the government is facing Rs600 billion deficit on electricity and gas,” he stated. “The deficit money will not come from the bank accounts of Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif.”

It is pertinent to mention that the government’s policy measures had resulted in the shrinking of trade deficit, decline in imports and increase in exports which augurs well for overall balance of payment of the country.

The trade deficit that stood at $17.7 billion in July- December 2017 has shrunk by 5pc to $16.8 billion in the corresponding period of 2018, the Press Information Department had reported on January 11.

Commenting on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Asia Pacific Group’s move to include India as a regulator, Umar said that India has attempted many times to put Pakistan into blacklist, adding that Pakistan was rigorously implementing the action plan given by the FATF.

Earlier on March 9, Pakistan had raised an objection over India’s inclusion in the FATF’s Asia Pacific Group.

Finance Minister Asad Umar, in this regard, had written a letter to the FATF, registering Pakistan’s protest on the induction of his eastern neighbour.

The FATF had placed Pakistan on a money laundering “grey list” early in 2018 but had given it time to take action against a further downgrade.

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