Country to achieve $20 billion forex reserves mark soon: Dar

Published August 14, 2015
Present government had opened banks to the poor, and financial inclusion has been introduced. -AFP/File
Present government had opened banks to the poor, and financial inclusion has been introduced. -AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Friday that Pakistan will achieve a forex reserve of $20 billion in the next few weeks. The finance minister made the announcement while addressing an Independence Day ceremony at Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) headquarters.

“Our forex reserves are close to $19 billion, and we will achieve the mark of $20 billion in a few weeks,” said Dar.

“All international rating agencies now hold Pakistan’s economy in high esteem. Our economy is stable and now we are embarking on a journey towards growth and economic consolidation,” added Dar.

Read: Foreign exchange reserves near all-time high

The event was attended by a large number of BISP beneficiaries, diplomats, political personalities, government officials and representatives from national and international organisations.

While talking about BISP, the finance minister said, “I am pleased to see BISP flourish and become the largest social safety net in the country.”

“For the current fiscal year, we have increased BISP’s budget to Rs 102 billion, and have increased the monthly stipend to Rs 1800 which has benefited millions,” elaborated Dar.

“I have directed BISP’s management to make all payments through technology based mechanisms and today more than 94 per cent of the beneficiaries are receiving payments through debit cards, smart cards and mobile phones,” remarked Dar.

He also said that the present government had opened banks to the poor, and financial inclusion has been introduced. The minister also praised BISP’s management for making it an efficient and competent government organisation.

“I would also like to thank our development partners for their continued support and we hope to cooperate with them on all projects that are mutually beneficial,” said Dar while referring to various representatives of international organisations present at the ceremony.

Read more: Allocation for BISP to be increased: Dar

The finance minister also praised the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the occasion.

Ishaq Dar also launched BISP Demographic Directory, which profiles beneficiary families based on their economic, social, educational and other dimensions. The directory would help BISP better disburse funds to beneficiaries and would assist in reaching the poorest sub-sections of the society.

Two major events have supported the central bank to improve its reserves. First, low oil prices in the international market helped the country save a substantial amount on account of import bill, and, second, remittances from overseas Pakistanis grew by 16pc year-on-year to $16.63bn during the 11 months through May.

Remittances are now more important than exports growth since the export sector has failed to achieve targets for the last many years despite incentives, including low interest rates on borrowing from banks.

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