Debt-ridden Pakistan‘s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday said that his country would not default on any sovereign commitments and overcome the current economic problems through long-term reforms.Speaking to a delegation of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), which called on him here ahead of the finalisation of budget 2023-24, Dar also said that there is not a single day’s delay in Pakistan’s sovereign commitments.
“Pakistan would not default and overcome the current economic problems through long-term reforms. The government’s top priority was to ensure that there is not a single day’s delay in Pakistan’s sovereign commitments,” said the minister.Dar warned people against speaking ill of the nation’s economy.”Some people like to give dates that Pakistan will default on so and so date. They should be ashamed. They should be well-wishers and be loyal to their soil,” he said.Dar said that Pakistan was a sovereign country with assets worth trillions of dollars while its external debts were USD 100 billion, adding that only one asset relating to gas infrastructure was about 50 per cent of the total debt.
The minister assured that the country would come out of the current challenges and would also create a sovereign wealth fund.”God-willing, we will be coming up with new ideas in the weeks to come…We will bring an agricultural revolution in Pakistan, [and] a sovereign wealth fund will be created,” he said.He said the government would present the budget and would continue after that for the long-term betterment of Pakistan.
Recently, global lender International Monetary Fund delayed the signing of a staff-level agreement to pave the way for USD 1.1 billion in financing for the cash-strapped nation.It is believed that Pakistan would default if the IMF refused to provide funds but Dar has been pushing back such dire predictions and with some success till now.In his interaction with the KCCI officials, the minister said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) faced similar circumstances when it came to power in 2014 and within a year turned around the economy.”One year was difficult but then everything was normal once things had settled down,” he said and added Pakistan had become the “best economy in South Asia”.