Making utmost efforts to improve economy, says Asad Umar

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ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar on Friday said that he is making his best efforts to improve the state of the country’s economy.

The comments were made during Umar’s address to the Senate on Friday.

The finance minister said that the opposition was involved in “point-scoring”, adding that whenever he is present in the House to answer their questions, they are absent.

He explained that the mini-budget was an economic reform package designed to improve the state of economic affairs in the country.

The minister highlighted the improved environment in the stock market in last month, explaining that it has recovered from the losses it had to experience in the previous year.

Umar underscored that Pakistan’s bond market saw the highest improvement in Asia with banks regaining trust as well.

Terming the “Pakistan Banao Certificate” an “out-of-the-box solution”, the finance minister said that it would help improve the issues the country faces on the external sector while adding that the balance of payments crisis experienced an improvement as well.

According to a statement issued on Thursday, the “Pakistan Banao Certificates” is the first initiative of its kind for overseas Pakistanis, as they get a unique opportunity to safely invest their savings with higher profit rates than United States, Europe, Gulf countries while helping build Pakistan. Under the said scheme, Overseas Pakistanis would be able to earn profits from their investment in certificates.

As for eligibility, Pakistanis having CNIC/NICOP or holders of POC, having bank accounts outside Pakistan, are eligible to buy the Pakistan Banao Certificates. The minimum investment is $5,000. Profit distribution is in US dollars while premature encashment in Pakistani Rupees can be done anytime without levy or penalty. Profit rate on three years plan will be 6.25pc payable bi-annually, whereas profit rate on five years plan would be 6.75pc payable bi-annually. Further incentives include exemptions from withholding tax and compulsory deduction of Zakat.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who launched the programme, also said that the balance of payments crisis was not yet over.