Federal Finance Minister Hammad Azhar addresses a press convention. Photograph: Geo Information screengrab

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Hammad Azhar on Wednesday introduced the federal government of Pakistan had determined to import sugar and cotton from India.

He introduced additionally the federal government’s transfer to lower costs of petrol and diesel.

“This determination shouldn’t be associated to the ECC [meeting that took place] however the first determination we’ve got taken, after consultations with the prime minister, we’ll scale back the costs of petrol and diesel,” stated Hammad Azhar throughout a information convention.

“The worth of petrol will probably be slashed by Rs1.5 per litre whereas the worth of diesel will probably be slashed by Rs3 per litre. We took this determination as a result of now, we’ve got some room attributable to a change in costs on the worldwide market,” he stated.

The minister spoke in regards to the excessive costs of sugar in Pakistan, saying the federal government had allowed sugar to be imported from different international locations, nevertheless, the worth of the commodity in different international locations was additionally excessive.

“Nonetheless, in our neighbouring nation India, the worth of sugar is kind of low-cost,” he stated. “Therefore, we’ve got determined to renew sugar commerce with India”.

He stated the measure would assist carry down sugar costs in Pakistan and can present reduction to the poor.

Azhar stated the demand for cotton in Pakistan was additionally growing with the passing time and the nation wanted the product in a big quantity. He stated Pakistan had not produced high quality cotton final 12 months therefore it had given the inexperienced sign for the product to be imported from different international locations across the globe.

“Nonetheless, the import of cotton from India was banned and this had a direct impact on our SMEs,” he stated. “Nonetheless, on the suggestion of the Ministry of Commerce, we’ve got additionally determined to renew the commerce of cotton with India,” he stated.

Azhar stated the incumbent authorities had led to a optimistic change in relation to the nation’s reserves within the State Financial institution of Pakistan.

“We made the State Financial institution of Pakistan autonomous,” he stated. “Our forex right this moment is standing by itself toes, we aren’t including {dollars} to it.”

He stated the federal government had acquired the $500mn tranche from the Worldwide Financial Fund (IMF) including that the quantity could be a “wholesome addition” to the nation’s reserves.

The finance minister stated he had been elected by the plenty and was answerable to them. He stated the federal government’s insurance policies will probably be on the premise of the welfare of the individuals.

“Usually, the proper choices are the proper ones,” he stated.

In response to a query in regards to the Monetary Motion Job Pressure (FATF), Azhar stated Pakistan was making an attempt its finest to adjust to the anti-money laundering and terror financing watchdog’s necessities.

“We are going to transfer ahead with the utmost onerous work. I will not wish to remark additional on this matter,” he stated.

Answering a query in regards to the State Financial institution invoice, Azhar stated the federal government will current it to the Parliament for debate and can guarantee all stakeholders are heard on the matter.

“The Parliament is sovereign, no different establishment within the nation is sovereign,” he stated, including that if the federal government felt there’s a must revise the invoice, it could “with an open thoughts and an open coronary heart”.

‘We respect Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and his efforts’

Azhar stated the federal government had numerous respect for former finance minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, including that the economic system had been stabilised throughout his tenure.

“Our present account deficit turned to a surplus throughout his tenure and our international alternate reserves grew considerably as nicely,” he stated. “All of these items are on file and nobody can deny them.”

Nonetheless, the minister stated it was the prime minister’s prerogative to “choose and alter his crew”.

“The prime minister modified me twice and handed me different portfolios earlier than I assumed cost of this one,” he stated. “I’ll search his [Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh’s] steerage throughout my tenure as nicely.”

Azhar stated the federal government will attempt to enhance its efficiency and guarantee it doesn’t repeat errors of the previous. “We are going to attempt to flip our weaknesses into our strengths however that doesn’t imply we have been making solely errors previously,” he stated.

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