Pakistan finance minister praises finance officials for contribution to budget and growth

31 May 17

Pakistan’s finance minister has called upon treasury officials to “continue the hard work” in order to fulfil targets outlined in the country’s 2017-18 budget, unveiled last week.


Mohammed Ishaq Dar, Pakistan's finance minister. Credit: Institute for Peace

Mohammed Ishaq Dar, Pakistan's finance minister. Credit: Institute for Peace


Mohammed Ishaq Dar said commitment from officials in the finance division had resulted in the “successful and timely” completion of the budget, and urged them to make all necessary efforts to keep Pakistan on track.

An economic survey published after the budget last week showed that the country has achieved its highest economic growth in a decade, at 5.28% of GDP, with the size of its economy now surpassing $300bn for the first time.

In his budget speech, Dar highlighted that four years ago Pakistan was on the brink of default, with a deficit of over 8%, low reserves and revenues and chronic energy blackouts.

“Just four years ago, this extraordinary turnaround would have seemed impossible,” he said, predicting Pakistan will be “one of the largest economies by 2030”.

Pakistan now only borrows for investment in national development, he continued, thanks to prudent fiscal management. “This is not an ordinary achievement,” Dar noted.

The budget envisages increasing growth to 6% of GDP this year, while investment will rise to 17% of GDP. Spending on development will grow by 40%, while the deficit will shrink by 0.1 percentage points, to 4.1%, and public debt will fall below 60% of GDP.

Dar said that in order to achieve these, the government hopes to increase revenues by 14%, including by tax hikes to dividends, the country’s wealthiest people and companies’ turnover.

Speaking at its headquarters earlier this week, Dar said Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue had also been essential in the success of the budget, and in particular its more progressive tax measures.

He stressed that good revenue collection is “exceedingly important” for the government’s efforts towards inclusive growth and job creation. 

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