President directs finance team to consider feasibility of floating infrastructure bonds

ISLAMABAD: Discussing futuristic concept of investment,President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday directed the Finance team to consider the feasibility of floating infrastructure bonds for raising equity for building infrastructure projects. Chairing a meeting of finance team of the government at the Presidency, the President said that Pakistan needed to build massive infrastructure projects but it lacked financial resources for the purpose. It may therefore be advisable to raise equity through infrastructure bonds, he said. The infrastructure projects, the President said, would create economic and business activity in the country on one side and help generate employment opportunities on the other.

The meeting took stock of the overall financial and economic situation of the country and the various measures being undertaken to address the economic issues facing the country.The meeting was attended by Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue & Economic Affairs, M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Yasin Anwar, Acting Governor, State Bank of Pakistan, Khalil Ahmad, Ambassador at Large,

Dr. Waqar Masood Khan, Secretary Finance, Salman Siddique, Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue and Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar.Briefing the media about the meeting, Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar said that a detailed briefing was given on the financial and economic situation, revenue collection measures, status of proposed currency swap agreements with Turkey and Sri Lanka, measures for increasing remittances through incentives to Pakistanis working abroad and documentation of economy.

The spokesperson said that the President directed the government’s finance team to prepare a workable plan in the shortest possible time by taking in to account all aspects of the proposal for raising equity through floating infrastructure bonds.The President said that the early finalization of currency swap agreements with Turkey and Sri Lanka would further strengthen the mutual trade and economic ties of Pakistan with these countries and help reduce pressure on their foreign exchange reserves.

The President was briefed on the Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) and the significant increase in the inflows of remittances as a result of the incentives policy.The President urged for vigorous implementation of the incentive packages for expatriate Pakistani to curb the illegal flows of remittances and facilitate their flow through official channels.The President also asked for encouraging overseas Pakistanis to fully avail from the government’s incentive package for expatriate Pakistanis to send home remittances through legal channels so as to maximize the inflow of capital. – APP