Ishaq Dar takes oath as federal minister; vows to revive economy

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Decides to reshuffle economic team
ISLAMABAD
Senator Ishaq Dar took the oath as federal minister at a special investiture ceremony held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr on Wednesday. President Dr Arif Alvi administered the oath of office to Senator Ishaq Dar at the ceremony, witnessed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The oath-taking ceremony was attended by federal ministers, parliamentarians and senior government officials. Talking to media, after taking oath as Finance Minister, he said regaining the deserving value to country’s currency, bringing down inflation and reducing interest rate were among the priorities.
Finance Minister sources privy to the matter said that major changes will be made in important positions in the FBR and the finance ministry, while the special assistant to the finance minister will also be reshuffled.
The Minister of State for Finance, Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha is also likely to be sacked, and the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Hamid Yaqoob Shaikh will also be replaced, sources added. Dar returned to country nearly after five years on Monday and later took oath as member of the upper house of the parliament on Tuesday.
Dar, known for his preference for a stronger currency, had led the finance ministry three times in the past. During his last stint as finance chief from 2013 to 2017, he managed to keep the rupee stable. It was the most stable currency in Asia from 2014 to 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Talking to the media persons in Islamabad on Wednesday, Ishaq Dar said stabilizing local currency and reducing inflation and interest rates are priorities of the government. He said we do not believe in mere verbal claims rather history is testimony of our economic performance.
Ishaq Dar expressed satisfaction over the appreciation of rupee over the last two days saying this has reduced our loans. The Federal Minister said the country is currently faced with worst economic crisis because of mismanagement of previous government of PTI.
He said it was because of the efforts of former Finance Minister Miftah Ismail that the country averted default. He however said that the mess left behind the PTI government could not be cleared in six months.
Ishaq Dar regretted that the PTI government during its last days in office violated the international agreements to take political mileage. As regards the case against him, Ishaq Dar said it is a fake. He said he has been a consistent tax payer over the last thirty four years and that he never delayed his tax returns. He said the previous government also cancelled his passport and it was the current coalition government which issued him a passport. “As a nation we had challenges, we have faced them with success in the past,” he said while citing the examples of economic restriction following nuclear tests of 1998 and declared macroeconomic instability of 2013.
Ishaq Dar said the speculators will not be allowed to play with the local currency. He rejected the impression that the PML(N) government in its tenure between 2013 and 2018 injected dollars in the market to keep the rupee overvalued.
He said we rather took the foreign exchange reserves to record level of twenty three billion dollars. He said we believe in market economy, recalling it was the PML-N government which introduced market based exchange rate. Ishaq Dar said the country is facing difficult challenges but these will be tackled as was done in the past.