Instead of IMF, Wathra wants boost in exports

Karachi— Governor, State Bank of Pakistan, Ashraf Mahmood Wathra on Monday said that boost in exports is a solution towards economic prosperity and any International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) related projects are temporary support to the country. He remarked this, during an interaction with media after a detailed briefing on economy of Pakistan at Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), which was organised jointly by PSX and SBP.
He said besides building a strong foreign exchange base through more exports and remittances, increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) was needed for real growth in the country.
“The economic situation in the country was improving. However, more efforts were needed on the financing side”, he said.
To a question, he said SBP had introduced ‘Assan Account’ scheme for the low income people which would be open and made functional soon. SBP has launched a financial awareness programme in the country as a step towards financial inclusion. “Our target is, at least 50 percent of adult population should have access to banking system,” he said.
When his attention was drawn to financial difficulties of power projects being executed in private sector, the SBP Chief offered his mediation for settling tariff with National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA).
On this occasion, a representative of Habib Bank Limited (HBL) assured that being a private commercial bank, HBL could arrange dollars for opening of Letters of Credit (L/Cs). A leading stock broker/investor Arif Habib drew the Governor’s attention to less loaning to housing industry and that Overseas Pakistanis were less interested in investing in industrial sector. Instead, they were holding their earnings with them and use their remittances for the purchase of land and other prosperity.
Another senior broker/investor Moin Fuda pointed out that Pakistan has only 25 hundred thousands investors’ base.
And, instead of giving more incentives to them, the government was charging them with 12 percent taxes.
SBP Governor assured them he will be taking up the matter with the higher authorities In his briefing Ashraf Mahmood Wathra said it is opportune time to accelerate domestic investment in the country to take it to the next level of robust high growth. Investment be made in new projects.
SBP Governor linked his assertion to the historically low interest rates, marked improvement in security conditions and energy supplies, and launch of CPEC-related initiatives.

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