Pakistan PM's finance confidante underplays poverty incidence in country
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin downplayed on Friday the incidence of poverty in Pakistan while insisting that its rate has gone down recently. According to the Dawn, Shaukat Tarin, said the latest figures by the World Bank show the incidence of poverty dropped to 4.2 per cent from 5.4 per cent a year ago.
"Our problem is inflation, which has affected the lower middle class in urban areas the worst," he said. Earlier, although the exchange rate hovered above Rs 178 in the open market on Friday, the finance adviser insisted that its actual value should be Rs 165 to Rs 167 as per the real effective exchange rate, a technical measure that compares the value of a nation's currency against the weighted average of the currencies of its major trading partners.
Earlier, Shaukat Tarin inaugurated the country's first Professional Clearing Member (PCM) at the Central Depository Company House. The introduction of the PCM regime is aimed at minimising the risk of custody defaults by transferring custody of shares to the PCM, it added. On the other hand, the finance adviser visited the office of the Pakistan Banks' Association (PBA).
According to the Dawn, PBA conveyed its concerns to Shaukat Tarin, about the continuing 'wide disparity between the lower tax rates on profit/dividends from investment in shares listed on the stock market as well as units of mutual funds and the tax rates on profit from bank deposits classified as 'profit on debt'.
(With inputs from agencies.)