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Rising inflation, high fiscal deficit biggest challenges: Umar

Finance Minister Asad Umar on Wednesday said the rising inflation and high fiscal deficit were the country’s biggest challenges at present and sought proactive contribution of the National Assembly’s finance committee to minimise their impact and protect the most vulnerable.

. Current Affairs Digest by Dr Safdar Mahmood

Testifying before the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, the finance minister also revealed that taking an unusual move India had circulated its separate assessment of Pakistan’s performance to comply with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) conditions even though it was also a joint vice president of the review group.

The minister said the finance committee should play a proactive role and prepare a document for the government, suggesting framework on growth model, resource mobilisation, increasing saving rates, trigger investments for creating jobs and reducing poverty to help the government prepare the upcoming budget.

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He said the fiscal challenges were so serious because of political objectives of the previous government that corrective measures — increase in electricity and gas rates — were understood to cause inflation. “Inflation is a big worry and how to protect people is the priority,” he said, asking the committee to suggest how to do that


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The finance minister said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was against the payment of tax refunds, but “we have done that also”.

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He said the interest payments alone would be Rs400 billion higher than budgeted, even though expenditure of the civil government had increased only by 3.3 per cent. He agreed to provide terms and conditions of all foreign loans to the finance committee soon after the signing of agreements in future.

Posted on March 14, 2019

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