ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar told the Senate Tuesday during question hour that loans worth over 14.9 billion Rupees have been written off over the past three years. He said that over 8.5 billion pertained to industrial sector, 3.3 billion to trading sector and over three billion rupees to agriculture sector. The Senate was informed today that loans worth over 14.9 billion rupees were written off by the government banks and financial institutions during the last three years.
Replying to another question he said the external debts of the federal government which stood at 27 billion dollars in 1999 increased to 35.3 billion dollars as on 30th of June last year. The government borrowings during the same period amounted to 24.6 billion dollars. The federal government made repayments of 14.7 billion dollars during the same period.
To a question he said a comprehensive law Financial Crimes Act is under preparation to cover all aspects of counterfeiting of currency notes and other related crimes. He said public awareness programmes are being conducted by the State Bank of Pakistan to create understanding about the security features of bank notes among the business community, bankers and the general public.
Minister for Commerce told the House that there was an increase of 20.4 billion dollars in imports during the last ten years while exports increased by 8.3 billion dollars during the period. Minister for Finance said that small adjustments in the value of rupee should not be a source of concern and the government was taking necessary measures to address fundamental weaknesses of the economy.
He was responding to a call attention notice by Kamil Ali Agha and Tahir Hussain Mashhadi regarding devaluation of rupee against dollar in the Senate Tuesday evening. The Minister pointed out that the rupee is not linked with the dollar and its value is determined by the market mechanism. He said the State Bank of Pakistan which is an autonomous body is overseeing the money market.
He agreed that there might be some manipulations by speculators but there is also demand pressure. Mr. Ishaq Dar said the prices of oil are increasing in the international market and the country has to spend ten billion dollars a year on its import.-SANA