ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cautioned his economic team against setting unrealistic targets for the next financial year, 2015-16. He was chairing a budget strategy meeting for the upcoming financial year.
A participant quoted the PM as saying, “It is advisable to only talk about those things which the government can achieve at the end of the day.”
For example, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar projected that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate for the next financial year would be 6 per cent. At this, the PM said that 5pc or, at most, 5.5pc was enough because “if we fail to show 6pc growth, the people will criticize us”.
The government has set an export target of around $25 billion for the next financial year. Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir, who will be the one looking to achieve this target, was asked by the PM, more than once if he was comfortable with the figure.
During the meeting, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi pleaded for an increase in gas tariff, arguing that the sector was suffering due to the low rates that the government charged domestic consumers.
Though the PM agreed with Mr. Abbasi’s argument, he refused to include his suggestion in the federal budget.