News Column

Better economic management top priority of government: Dar

April 25, 2014

Keeping in view the requirements of the country and in line with the PML-N economic agenda, better economic management is the top priority of government.

This was stated by the Minister for Finance, Mohammad Ishaq Dar while addressing the workshop on strengthening sub-national fiscal management here on Thursday, The event was jointly organized by the Ministry of Finance and World Bank Group aiming to improve the government's financial operations.

The minister said that management of Sub-National Finances is an important subject with which the federal and provincial governments have to deal.

He underscored that fiscal sustainability cannot be achieved without sound fiscal and financial management.

Wherever and whenever there is a departure from fiscal prudence and matters are allowed to drift over a period of time, as happened in the recent past in Pakistan, the economy has had to pay a heavy price in the shape of inflation, high unemployment, high debt burden and slow economic growth, he added.

The government is fully aware of the fact that fiscal consolidation and prudent debt management are vitally important for a better economic future and for this we have articulated a Medium-Term Budget Strategy in which we will aim to reduce fiscal deficit to around 4% of GDP in the next three years.

Ishaq Dar further said that this will result in reduction of our public debts to less than 60 percent of GDP.

"This Conference comes at an opportune time when the 7th National Finance Commission (NFC) Award is coming to a close next fiscal year and preparations for the next NFC award is due to begin, "I shall look forward to the recommendations of this conference", he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Senior Economist at World Bank, Dr. Hamid Mukhtar said that according to Article 167 of the Constitution, Sub-National Fiscal management is a constitutional requirement.

After the 18th Amendment and the 7th NFC Award, when the Provinces have more fiscal autonomy and greater powers to make allocations, employing funds in important development projects is the biggest challenge, he added.

Acting Country Head of World Bank, Paul Welton said that it is essential to manage government's financial operations in the present date, the debt limitation act has actually increased government's responsibilities because it has to stay in the constitutional limits of public debt ratio along with providing resources for key development operations.

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Source: Pakistan Press International