ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar on Thursday said India would itself suffer for its decision to withdraw Most Favoured Nations (MFN) status to Pakistan and impose 200pc duty on its products.
The ‘inappropriate and unwise’ decisions of the Indian government on trade with Pakistan “tantamount to harm its own on economy instead of causing any loss to Pakistan”, said the minister when asked for comments on Indian move after the Pulwama attack.
He said the steps taken by India demonstrated its immaturity that would be more harmful for its own economy. Exports to New Delhi, he said, will suffer because of imposition of duties.
In response to a question on meetings of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) currently in progress in Paris, Umar hoped the global watchdog on terror financing and money laundering would give a satisfactory report on Pakistan. He said the FATF would share its assessment on Friday.
Responding to another question, the minister said the differences with the International Monetary Fund were narrowing down and technical level discussions were an ongoing process. He said the two sides had technical level discussions last week and another round would follow next week during which the two sides exchange data and information.
“The (Fund) mission would be invited for final talks when we get closer to an agreement through technical level discussions,” the minister said when asked about the schedule of upcoming visit of the IMF mission. He said the regular interaction with IMF technical teams allowed for better communication and greater exchange of data. This has helped us narrow the existing gaps.
Earlier, speaking at third Pakistan Leadership Convention, organised by Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) of Pakistan, the minister said the government was introducing governance reforms to improve functioning of the public sector so that the country could move on the path to national progress and prosperity.
He recalled he had made his first presentation on ‘Leadership in 21st Century’ after joining corporate world decades ago and added that challenges faced by a company could replicate to any society or country as a whole.
The biggest challenge for Pakistan, he said, was existing gap between potential and reality of the country. “Pakistan’s potential is staggering while it’s far from reality,” he said, adding that reality was not reflective of the country’s potential.
The minister said it was a challenge for a visionary leadership to put right people for the right job while the country’s governance structure was highly flawed and preference was being given for additional degrees rather than the relevant degree from high ranking universities like Havard.
He said it was sad to note that kinship on account of clans, connections and political affiliations were considered as criteria for high-profile jobs but the PTI government was working under the guidance of Dr Ishrat Hussain to revamp government structures.
He said that quality of governance could not be improved without overhauling bureaucracy and placing right men for the right job and professionals given preference over connections. For this, professionals would have to be extended full facilities and incentives to serve the country and take it to new heights. He said Pakistan was full of capable human resource but it was important to employ their expertise for the progress of the country.
He said the private sector provided better opportunities to professionals and resultantly they perform to best of their capabilities.
“Today, Pakistan is fortunate to have a leadership that has a vision for its future. If that vision materialises, then I can guarantee that Pakistan will be among the world’s top five economies by the end of this century,” the minister hoped.
Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2019