Reforms to help economic recovery: Hafiz Shaikh

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s economy would come on the path of stability within next couple of years provided the government is successful in bringing economic reforms in the country, Federal Minister for Finance, Dr. Hafiz Shaikh said.“We need to go to medium term road and if we are successful in bringing economic reforms within next six to nine months, we would be able to enhance overall growth rate, create jobs and control the inflation” the finance minister told APP in an interview here.Referring to global recession, increasing oil prices in the international market and pending adjustment, the federal minister said that the country had successfully came out of these crisis and had been witnessing macro economic stability till the devastating floods hit it.
“The recent floods inflicted damages of $10 billion to national economy and brought the growth rate down besides affecting millions of people all across the country,” the minister added.He, however, was hopeful that country’s economy would come on the path of stability by reforming tax system and public sector corporations besides boosting agriculture productivity.“We have achieved GDP growth of 6 to 7 percent and we are able to achieve such growth even now, but it would take some time, owing to devastation caused by recent floods,” he added.He said that there was commodity boom in the world market and Pakistan could take advantage of it by enhancing its agriculture as well as industrial production.Hafiz Shaikh regretted that the tax to GDP ratio of Pakistan is only 10 percent, which he added needed to be enhanced for the overall socio-economic development of the country.

He said that bill related to tax reformations was with the parliament adding that the RGST would be implemented in consultation with all the four provinces.He said that the government would have to improve the tax system and bring tax evaders into this net to enhance revenue generation, deploring that tax collection of 10 percent to GDP was very low.Referring to Secretary Clinton’s statement for taxing the elite, he said it was national interest to enhance revenues whether somebody from outside advises us or not.
He said that out of $7.5 billion Pakistan would get under Kerry Lugar bill, US$ 2 billion would be spend in energy sector to overcome the energy crisis to help country’s industry grow and penetrate into the commodity market which has been providing ample opportunities to earn foreign exchange for Pakistan.He said that special attention would also be given for the development of dams and improvement in irrigation system of the country besides improving the efficiency of electricity plants.Hafeez Shaikh said that $2 billion would be spend for ensuring food security in the country adding special focus would be given to building of new dams and improvement of country’s irrigation system – App