Country’s foreign reserves under pressure, NA told


The National Assembly was informed on Monday that foreign exchange reserves were under pressure but there was no threat of payments being defaulted. Minister of State for Production Khawaja Sheraz Mahmood told the House during the Question Hour that the reserves which had stood at $18.24 billion at the end of the financial year 2011 had decreased to $15.6 billion in August this year. He said the decrease was primarily on account of current account deficit and repayment of $1.3 billion to the IMF. To another question, he said the GDP growth rate which was 1.7 percent in 2008-09 had increased gradually to 3.7 percent in 2011-12. Mahmood said the government was implementing a comprehensive strategy for economic growth that included provision of incentives to farmers, unclogging of inter-corporate circular debt and fiscal consolidation to release more resources for private sector investment. To another question, the minister of state said Rs 1,626 billion had been received in taxes, duties and Petroleum Development Levy on petroleum products during the last four years. He said taxes on petroleum products constituted about one-fourth of the total tax collection by the FBR.