BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Urdu Hindi Pashto Bengali Tamil Nepali Sinhala
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: South Asia  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 4 October, 2002, 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK
Polls not to 'affect' Pakistan's reforms
President Musharraf
Musharraf's government is set to continue reforms

Pakistan's Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz says he is confident the change of government in Islamabad, following next week's elections will not affect economic reforms.

International financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Bank have voiced concerns about whether there will be economic consistency after the elections.

Pakistani Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz
Mr Aziz commands respect at home and abroad

"We have assured them that there will be no change in Pakistan's economic direction after the new government takes over,"Shaukat Aziz told the BBC from Islamabad:

Restoration of economy was one of the top priority areas, when General Musharraf toppled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government on 12 October, 1999.

Pakistan's economic managers, headed by Shaukat Aziz, now claim, thanks to their persistent efforts, the economy is showing visible signs of recovery.

All time high

Even detractors agree there is significant truth to it.

Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves are touching an all time high of US$8.2 billion and the economic deficit and inflation rate have been under brought under control.

The Pakistani Rupee, which was sliding against the dollar before, has stabilised and now stands at around 59 Rupees to the US Dollar.

Even in the realm of tax recovery, traditionally a major area of concern by the IMF, there are signs of positive change.

Appreciated

On Thursday, Pakistani officials announced, for the first time, tax recoveries have exceeded the 90 billion rupee target for the first quarter of financial year 2002-03.


We have assured them that there will be no change in Pakistan's economic direction after the new government takes over

Shaukat Aziz

Thanks to Shaukat Aziz's personal standing he enjoys among international donors and Pakistan's bilateral partners, General Musharraf is known to be highly appreciative of his finance minister's performance.

There are also indications he would like Shaukat Aziz to continue as finance minister after the elections.

There is a question of whether the continuity of Pakistan's economic policy in fact means he is likely to continue to oversee the reform process.

Obstacles

Shaukat Aziz did not rule out the possibility, but said: "It's too early to say. We'll hear a definite word on this at the right time."

Critics argue military tension with India and repeated incidents of violence against foreign nationals and religious minorities in Pakistan have been a major obstacle to economic recovery.

The government says military build-up along the border in response to India's has cost Pakistan another Rs 12 to 15 billion ($200m to $265m) in defence expenditure.

Bomb blasts and killings in Karachi and other parts of country, believed to be in reaction of General Musharraf's crackdown on Islamic militancy after 11 September attacks, have kept both foreign and domestic investors at a safe distance.

Critics say despite modest improvement in Pakistan's macro-economic indicators, the dividends have yet to reach the majority of the country's poor; a large proportion of whom remain desperate for new job opportunities.

See also:

12 Aug 02 | Business
14 Jun 02 | Business
22 Apr 02 | Business
02 May 02 | Country profiles
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes