Islamabad, Dec.16 (ANI): The advisor to the Prime Minster on Finance, Shaukat Tareen said on Tuesday that the poverty rate in Pakistan is climbing, and at present, it stands at 28 percent.
Addressing a seminar here, Tareen said government's top priority, at the moment, is to bring the rate of inflation down to nine percent.
The seminar was held in collaboration with International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), The News reported.
Tareen said previous governments had ignored important sectors of agriculture, production, human resource development, education and health which are key to progress.
Speaking on the occasion, State Bank Governor, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar said that the growing rate of unemployment and poverty posed greater challenge to the country, which needed to be addressed.
Tareen's warning came a day after he had said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would approve a proposed support package for small brokers in Pakistan.
"The IMF did not stop us from supporting the brokers. They asked us for consultations on the issue before making a formal announcement," the Gulf Times quoted him as saying in an interview when asked whether the government had gone back on its promise to support brokers.
Tareen said he was optimistic the support fund would be approved by the IMF soon, but hastened to add that the floor had to be lifted without any support.
According to the paper, before seeking a bailout from the IMF, Islamabad had announced a support fund of Rs.20 billion and another 'put option' of Rs.30 billion in a bid to cushion investors.
Tareen was of the view that if the stock market fell by more than 20 to 25 percent without the support of the floor, it would still be better than what had happened in many countries of the world. (ANI with inputs)