Energy sector losses resulted in weakening of economy, says finance minister

KARACHI: Finance Minister Asad Umar said that Pakistan’s economy weakened because of massive losses in the energy sector, adding that efforts were being made to address the issue.
The finance minister said so during his appearance on local TV program. He said the government had been working on different types of funding.
“We need to immediately increase our exports,” he explained. “We will improve our products as per the international standards.”
Umar said that people would invest their capital in case of improvement in industry and exports.
He said they have also sough suggestions from experts regarding ensuring transparency in real estate.
“The current account deficit from May to July stood at $2 billion, which has now reduced,” the minister said during the show.
He said the recent steps taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government helped increase exports and reduce imports.
“Economic decisions should be taken on economic basis, not for political reasons,” Umar said. “A decision would soon be made regarding state entities incurring financial losses.”
He, however, said no change could be brought about if the officials implementing the government policies were incompetent.
Commenting on the fresh hike in power tariff, the minister said the Economic Coordination Committee received the summary of increase in tariff two to three times.
“I had rejected the summary and instead asked for measures to prevent power theft,” he said. “There have been huge losses in the energy sector due to which the economy has weakened.”
Umar said his government wanted a strong system for tax collection, noting that they had sent notices to individuals for paying their taxes.
He further said that Pakistan Steel Mill or Pakistan International Airlines could not be privatised.
“If these enterprises were to be privatised then the former government would have done it,” the minister said.
“Privatisation of every institution is not a solution to the issue.”