ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar on Tuesday rejected the notion that the country is facing an economic crisis, saying the “financing gap for the current fiscal year has been met”. He said “those spreading rumours about the economy are not doing any favour to the country”.
The minister’s comments come a day after stocks suffered the worst single-day decline in 16 months as the KSE-100 index tumbled 1,335.43 points (3.30 per cent) and closed at 39,160.60. While speaking at the 11th South Asia Economic Summit in Islamabad, Umar said that “all the fundamental economic indicators are improving as a result of effective policies of the present government”.He also pointed out that exports are increasing while imports and current account deficit are witnessing downward trend, Radio Pakistan reported.
Talking about the record rise of the US dollar against the Pakistani rupee in the interbank market, the finance minister pointed out the rupee has been witnessing depreciation since last year. He, however, said that the situation is now improving. Umar, according to Radio Pakistan, also made it clear that no compromise will be made on the independence of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). A day earlier, during a meeting with TV anchors at PM House, Prime Minister Imran Khan had revealed that he was unaware of the SBP move [on Friday] to decrease the value of the currency against the US dollar and came to know about rupee depreciation through the media.
The prime minister said the SBP was compelled to depreciate the rupee in order to preserve the country’s foreign currency accounts, as the government inherited a $19bn trade deficit from the last PML-N government. The premier said although the SBP was an autonomous body, he had asked the authorities that no such decision be taken without taking the government into confidence first.
Later at night, Minister of State for Finance Hammad Azhar told a private TV channel that the prime minister did not intend to roll back his commitment to an independent central bank, but only meant that he wanted greater “information sharing” between the bank and the government.