Donation of $1.5bn a ‘gift by friends’: Dar


ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar said on Saturday the donation of $1.5 billion by friendly countries was a gift for the people of Pakistan. 
Chairing a meeting of Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC), the minister said the friendly countries had full confidence in Pakistan and the government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), for which they made an unconditional donation of $1.5 billion to the Pakistan Development Fund (PDF).
Clarifying the rumours regarding the status of the donation, Ishaq Dar said it was neither a loan nor given in return for any services.
The amount should be accepted with thanks and not be made controversial, he added.
He said the amount would be spent on different development projects in various sectors, including energy, infrastructure, railways, communication and transportation. 
“The most important project is linking Sindh with other areas of the country through the motorway. It is the initiative of PML-N government and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gives priority to its completion,” he added.
The minister said that work on the motorway project in the country was continuing at full pace, which would cost about Rs 800 billion.
He said the economy had performed well during the first eight months of current fiscal year, as was evident from major economic indicators, such as growth rate, inflation, foreign remittances, foreign exchange reserves, external trade and industrial growth.
The minister said that tax collection during the period increased by 17.7 percent as compared to the last year. 
The provinces would receive more than Rs 200 billion this year due to increased tax collection, he added.
He said that Pakistan had been ranked second in the world in terms of business growth in a survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), while it had potential to become the 18th largest economy of world by 2050, according to another report.
However, the government would try its best to realise the dream of 18th largest economy by 2025, he added.

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