Foreign exchange reserves to cross mark of $20 bln: Dar

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Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar being presented a copy of BISP's Demographic Directory by Chairperson BISP Marvi Memon in Islamabad on August 14, 2015.

ISLAMABAD, Aug 14: Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar said here Friday that the country was all set to achieve the $20 billion forex reserve mark in next few weeks. This was the good news that he was sharing with the nation on independence day, he added.
The Minister stated this while addressing an Independence Day ceremony organized at BISP Headquarters. The event was attended by large number of BISP beneficiaries, political personalities, senior government officials, representatives of national and international organizations, socialites and diplomats. The ceremony was studded with a range of activities including the launch of Demographic Directory, a documentary on BISP narrative and presentation of the BISP theme song.
Finance Minister went on to say that all international rating agencies were now holding the Pakistani economy in high esteem. Our economy is stable and now we are embarking on the journey towards growth and economic consolidation, he added. He said the report by Jim O’Neill, a British economist had predicted Pakistan would be the 18th leading economy by 2050, but with dedicated efforts we wish to reach that stage in half the time. He said the country’s forex reserves had already reached close to 19 billion dollars presently and his eyes were now all set on achieving the $20 billion mark. Inshallah we shall achieve that, the Minister said.
Talking about the BISP the Minister said he was pleased to see the programme flourish and turn into the largest social safety net, facilitating s large number of beneficiaries in the country. He said from Rs. 40 billion in June 2013, we have enhanced the BISP budget to 102 billion in 2015-16, increased the monthly stipend from Rs.1200 to Rs.1800 and now intend to attain the 5.3 million beneficiaries’ target. He said when he conceived the idea of this programme seven years ago, he envisioned that the stipends provided to the beneficiaries would improve the most vulnerable people’s lives and help them attain health and educational facilities. When PML (N) came to power in 2013, he gave clear instructions on running the programme in an efficient and transparent manner. He said he had directed the BISP management to make all payments through technology based mechanisms and today more than 94% of the beneficiaries are receiving payments through debit cards, smart cards and mobile phones. The doors of the banks had been opened to the poorest of the poor and financial inclusion has been introduced. He praised the efforts of BISP management and officials for making BISP an efficient and competent government organization. He also thanked the development partners for their continued support and expressed hope to collaborate with them in the future on all projects of mutual benefits.
The Minister said there had been a lot of talk in the past about women empowerment in Pakistan. The PML-N Government, he said is determined to ensure women empowerment in the country. Inshallah with BISP’s efforts to reach out to womenfolk in the country we shall move forward on this front as well. Concluding his address, the Minister said the Pakistan of 2015 is different from the Pakistan as of June 2013 and the Pakistan of 2018 will be still brighter and prosperous. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif the future of the country is safe and secure, the Finance Minister said.
Minister Dar on this occasion performed launching of BISP Demographic Directory which looks into the profiles of beneficiary families on economic, social, educational and other dimensions. Chairperson BISP informed the participants that through this directory we extend invitations to all our existing and potential internal development partners and multinational corporations to collaborate with BISP. We aim to advance global connectivity, promote overall safety and security of the region and debunk myths surrounding Pakistani women. We expect all our partners to develop their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities with BISP’s scientific database of the poorest women so that they have the peace of mind of knowing that their philanthropic funds are being targeted to the real needy.
BISP also launched a documentary and a theme song. The documentary focused on outreach, effectiveness and impacts of the programme. It contained the acknowledgment of BISP’s interventions by the international community. The documentary captured the diversity of cultures throughout Pakistan and the experience of people with BISP. BISP’s theme song, composed on a sweet melody enthralled the audience.
Earlier in her welcome address, Minister of State and Chairperson BISP, MNA Marvi Memon said that BISP recognizes and applauds the role of women in nation building of Pakistan. The financial assistance by BISP aims at empowerment of women and feeds directly into Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of eradicating poverty. It is the promise of BISP to ensure large impact and to promote a bright and positive image of Pakistan.
Secretary BISP, Mr. Muhammad Saleem Ahmed Ranjha said that Pakistan was founded on the principle of guarantee of rights to its citizens, therefore, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that women are given their due rights and their social and financial needs are met adequately. BISP is the premier organization of the government working to achieve this goal by empowering women and assisting them in leading lives with dignity and independence.

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