Privatization Policy to Continue; Ishaq Dar

The finance minister senior senator Ishaq Dar confirmed that the Privatization policy will continue as introduced by the previous government. He said this while facing opposition on the federal budget. The previous government made this decision from the advice of Council of Common Interests. While replying to the opposition the finance minister confirmed that out of 68 bodies 31 would be handled on a fast track. He confirmed that there would be no mercy on transparency and the rights of the workers were to be guarded by the government. The finance minister reported that the total amount for the nuclear projects of K-2 and K-3 in Karachi would be paid at the start of the next month.

According to the senator talks were held with a delegation of Exim Bank of China for financial aid of these projects and this resulted in a positive agreement. He praised the government of installing nuclear plants in IPP mode in Chashma. The Chinese government is funding these projects. He also said that government avoided circular debts because of IPPs which had gone to court to get independent assurances during the time of the previous government. According to him the government is continuing to keep public funds either in State Bank of Pakistan or National Bank of Pakistan. The amounts against the Universal Service Fund had been transferred to the State Bank of Pakistan. The minister assured Islamic banking by the end of the year. A committee regarding this has been formed which will negotiate with Swiss authorities to bring back illegal money back to the country.

According to the finance minister no favoritism was shown in appointment of people in the government departments but all had been done through a better process. He also informed that a population census would be carried on after consulting with provinces. There was also some improvement reported by the senator on yearly financial payments showing an increase of 12.39%. Dar also said about the growing interest of the government in the water sector like continuing the work on Diamer-Bhasha dam by the next year. He also assured the opposition being given equal development funds. The opposition demanded some extra funds summing up to Rs 103.32 billion for the cabinet and the government departments. These demands were rejected by the House and then the Head of Parliamentarian Affairs pointed out the reduced budget of PM house to 324 million rupees from 747.

Some relief measures have also been taken for the poor and deserving people. According to Dar hospitals have increased and nuclear energy is utilized for electricity. The opposition said that the cabinet division had failed to deliver despite the expense. Appointments were termed as unfair by the opposition as well as price hikes which were said to affect the employees the most so a rise in their pays was demanded. The opposition supported the population census and demanded for more direct tax. The religious parties asked for Islamic banking. However, the budget was deeply criticized by the opposition.