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Saturday July 02, 2022

Ready for ‘reforms’, Pakistan tells IMF

A source said Secretary Finance Hameed Yaqoob and Chairman FBR Asim Ahmed left for Doha on Wednesday night for holding parleys with the IMF

By Our Correspondent
May 19, 2022
Pakistan tells the IMF that it is ready to take up tough decisions. Photo: The News/File
Pakistan tells the IMF that it is ready to take up tough decisions. Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has conveyed its willingness to the IMF negotiation team that it will take 'tough measures' such as hike in the POL products and electricity prices but in a phase-wise approach for reviving the stalled $6 billion fund programme.

According to reports, Pakistani authorities will also make all-out efforts to convince the IMF’s review mission that it should reduce the cost of the burden of inflation that will hit the masses and may request to adopt a phased-wise approach for the reversal of subsidies, especially on the petroleum products. 

"Secretary Finance Hameed Yaqoob and Chairman FBR Asim Ahmed left for Doha on Wednesday night for holding parleys with the IMF, while finance minister was expected to join the review meetings from coming Monday," official sources said, while talking to The News on Wednesday.

According to the official statement issued by the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday, Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue Miftah Ismail held a virtual meeting with the IMF mission chief.

The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Finance & Revenue Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha, Secretary Finance, Governor State Bank of Pakistan and Chairman Federal Board of Revenue. Meanwhile, the first batch of the senior management of Finance Division, State Bank of Pakistan and Federal Board of Revenue has already reached Doha for the 7th Review Mission.

The finance minister and minister of state will also join the team in Doha early next week to conclude the discussion with the expectation to reach an agreement for the IMF’s continued support until the successful completion of the programme. The finance minister reaffirmed the government’s commitment to undertake the reforms envisaged under the programme and to complete the structural benchmarks.

IMF Mission Chief Nathan Porter shared the IMF’s assessment of the challenges being faced by the economy with the Minister for Finance & Revenue. He sensitised that Pakistan’s economy demanded both immediate and long-term corrective measures.

Finance minister stated that the government could understand the current economic woes but agreed that tough decisions would have to be taken, while mitigating the effects of the inflation on the middle to low-income groups. He emphasised that few of the factors that have adversely affected the economic situation were beyond the control of the government. These included exogenous factors like supply shocks, commodity super cycle and Russia-Ukraine conflict due to which the commodity prices further soared. These factors were putting pressure on the current account as well as the foreign exchange reserves. The minister stated that the government would take measures to reduce the burden on the economy, while protecting the vulnerable sections of the population was also among the priorities.

The minister further stated that we should aim at addressing structural issues, so that Pakistan is able to end its fiscal deficit and move towards sustainable growth. The finance minister thanked the IMF mission chief for support at such a difficult time for global economy. Both sides showed keen interest to complete the review successfully.

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