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Saleem Mandviwalla becomes new Finance Minister

Saleem Mandviwalla

Pakistan News – Saleem Mandviwalla has replaced Abdul Hafeez Shaikh as the Finance Minister of Pakistan. Mandviwalla was previously serving as the State Minister for Finance.

Shaikh resigned on Tuesday amid speculation that he might be offered an important post in the caretaker government.

“Yes, I have resigned from the ministerial slot,” the outgoing finance minister Dr Sheikh confirmed in brief reply when contacted by The News.

He said that he was sitting with ministry staff to extend them thanks for their contribution during his tenure and promised to talk in details after sometime.

Shaikh leaves as the Pakistan currency has slid to a historic low against the dollar and the economy is beset by inflation, daily power cuts and plummeting foreign investment.

Pakistan is left with reserves just enough to pay for two months worth of imports. In 2008, that situation prompted a balance of payments crisis only ended when the International Monetary Fund offered a bailout package of $11 billion.

But in 2011, that program was suspended after Shaikh was unable to push through key reforms, most notably widening Pakistan’s tax base.

The IMF has said it will not consider rescheduling repayments of the $6.2 billion Pakistan still owes without a comprehensive plan for reform agreed on by all political parties.

Dr Sheikh had assumed the ministerial slot in April 2010 when Shaukat Tarin resigned after surfacing differences with PPP leadership on different issues and also because of his personl reasons. Dr Sheikh served as Minister for Finance for almost three years.
His opponents say that his laidback and lethargic attitude had caused severe loss to Pakistan’s economy as he miserably failed to pursue reform agenda.

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