ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Thursday that Pakistan’s economy suffered over $100 billion losses in the last 12 years after becoming a US ally in its war on terror since 9/11.
The statement has come at a time when opposition parties, led by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, are already opposing US drone attacks in tribal areas, seeking revision in Pakistan’s policy on war on terror.
Ishaq Dar said that this was the direct economic cost of the war on terror on Pakistan while the indirect impact on trade and investment opportunities far exceeds the direct cost.
“The unanimously approved strategy evolved at the All-Parties Conference (APC) in September this year is guiding our efforts in rooting out the menace of militancy and extremism,” the minister said.
Against these costs, Pakistan has received $15 billion through official channels under various heads.
The minister was speaking at the 16th Annual Sustainable Development Conference, organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute.
Explaining the three-year medium term macro-economic goals of his government, the minister said that the GDP growth would be enhanced to 7pc while fiscal deficit would be brought down to 4pc.
The minister said that the fiscal deficit can be brought down to zero in case people elect PML-N government for the next five more years.
As per targets, he said that investment/GDP ratio would rise to 20pc, forex reserves to edge up to $20bn, and public debt to be reduced to 60pc from the existing 63pc of GDP under the statutory limit.
He said a business confidence survey undertaken by the Overseas Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) and released in August this year, has brought the confidence level in the positive territory of +2 from -34 to which it was sunk for nearly two years.
Second, prices of three Pakistani bonds that were internationally floated during the period 2004-07, and had subsequently declined to very low level, have regained 10-15pc of their value since the new government took office and are fast approaching their face values.
Moreover, S&P and Moody’s have projected positive outlook for Pakistan.
Dar said global rupee bonds worth $1bn would be floated in the international market.
“I have assured that the bonds can be issued in two weeks time,” the minister said.
He said his government would submit productive projects for getting $1bn loan from World Bank.
The minister said that trimming in foreign missions will save Rs2bn annually.
The minister said that tax-to-GDP ratio would increase to 15pc in the five years term of this government.
Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan cannot achieve economic revival until having peace with Afghanistan and India.
“We have to establish peaceful relations with neighbours,” he remarked.