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April 13, 2021

‘IMF lauded Pakistan's positive economic indicators’

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April 13, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance and Revenue Hammad Azhar on Monday held a virtual meeting with International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva where she acknowledged the need for the welfare of people as the focus of all policy endeavors. "Had a productive virtual meeting with IMF MD on the state of Pakistan's economy and implementation of reforms. Grateful that she acknowledged the positive economic indicators and the need to keep the welfare of people of Pakistan as the focus of all our policy endeavors," Hammad said after the meeting. Georgieva held the virtual meeting with Hammad Azhar and Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr Reza Baqir. She later tweeted: "I commended Pakistan's response to the health and economic crisis, and we discussed the way forward for vital economic reforms and external financing needed to build a better future for Pakistan's people." Pakistani authorities and IMF high-ups held discussions on the occasion of the IMF/World Bank's annual meeting held virtually this time.

Pakistani authorities are hinting for convincing the IMF for showing lenient attitude in the wake of third wave of COVID-19 as IMF had placed tough conditions for imposing over Rs700 billion additional taxes in the upcoming budget and hiking electricity tariff by Rs5 per unit till June 2021.

In the next fiscal year, Pakistan will have to hike gas tariff. However, Prime Minitser's Special Assistant on Power Tabash Ghaur on Monday stated that PM Imran Khan had barred for not raising electricity tariff till June 2021. The sources said that it would result into hiking the monster of circular debt that might cross Rs2.587 trillion mark.

When journalist asked about possibility of reviewing of programme if Pakistan made request in this regard few days back, IMF's Mission Chief Ernesto Ramirez Rigo had stated that the IMF programme was evolving thing that could be discussed keeping in view ground realities. However, he said that Pakistan so far not made any formal request to make changes in the targets of the Fund programme.

However, this scribe contacted to IMF's Chief in Pakistan Teresa Daban Sanchez and asked what would happen if Pakistan declined to hike electricity tariff, she replied: "It is not the question that could be either answered right now. The Pakistani authorities and IMF staff remain engaged and we will continue working for next reviews and monitoring the situation in the economy for getting ready for completion of next reviews.