ISLAMABAD – Finance Minister Ishaq Dar says the government is dedicated to conducting the long-awaited population and housing census in the country as early as possible, after a decades-long delay spanning multiple governments, both civilian and military.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad on Monday, he said fourteen billion rupees would be spent on the census by the government, in addition to the funds provided by the United Nations Population Fund for the purpose.

Ishaq Dar said that resources had already been allocated for the census but the necessary army strength required for the task was not available on the proposed dates due to the military’s commitments in Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

He said that Pakistan’s economic indicators were improving and foreign exchange reserves had substantially increased.

Ishaq Dar said the operation of the Stock Exchange had shown considerable improvement and emerged as the best market in the region.

He said foreign remittances had increased from thirteen point nine billion to nineteen point nine billion dollars during last three years.

Ishaq Dar said foreign exchange reserves had surpassed the $ 23 billion dollar mark.