Pakistan PM Khan appoints new finance minister in major re-shuffle


Asad Umar announced his decision to leave the federal cabinet after he was told by Prime Minister Imran Khan to take the energy minister portfolio instead of finance as part of a cabinet reshuffle.

Khan made 10 ministerial appointments, including Sheikh who has already served as finance minister under the opposition Pakistan People's Party when it was in power.

Prime Minister Imran Khan's eight-month-old administration has faced sustained criticism from political opponents, independent commentators and the business community over the government's handling of the economic crisis facing the country.

Abdul Hafeez Shaikh is de facto finance minister to steer Pakistan through worsening economic turmoil.

The current Finance Minister of Pakistan, Asad Umar has made a decision to step down from his post.

In Pakistan it is common for financial experts to be given the title of "adviser", rather than federal minister, to head the finance ministry when they are not a sitting member of parliament.

More news: ‘If I were Boeing, would rebrand plane’: Trump on 737 Max crisis
More news: Tiger Woods 2019 comeback: Nike shares rise after Woods' Masters win
More news: Top House Democrat steps up demand for Trump's tax returns

"The next budget will be a hard one", he added, referring to annual spending plans for the financial year ending June 2020 due to announced in May.

Health Minister Amir Mehmood Kiyani, who had also been in hot waters due to a recent controversy over increase in prices of medicines, was also removed from his position after receiving presidential assent.

Former petroleum minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan. Nadeem Babar has replaced Sarwar as the PM's adviser on petroleum.

Azam Swati, who stepped down past year as minister of science and technology for allegedly using his influence over police to register a case against a poor family, made a comeback and appointed as minister for parliamentary affairs.

But it was not enough.

Forecasts by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank suggest the Pakistani economy is likely to grow between 4.0 and 4.5 per cent for the fiscal year ending June 2019, compared to 5.8 per cent growth in the last fiscal year. The rupee currency has also lost about 35 per cent since December 2017. The IMF paints a gloomier picture, predicting growth of 2.9 percent in 2019 and 2.8 percent next year.