Islamabad March 9 2023: Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar on Thursday said that the staff level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would be signed in next few days as all the requirements had already been fulfilled.
“We are very close to signing the agreement with the IMF and it would be done in next few days”, he said while addressing a seminar “Reviving economic stability through strengthening of public financial management” organized by the ministry of finance here.
The minister said that the Pakistan Muslim League (N) government had also completed the full programme with the Fund earlier in 2013-16 and was committed to complete it now as well despite agreeing to tough conditions by the previous government.
He said a shattered economy was handed over to the coalition government, however it showed commitment and sincerity to the state by acting upon all the tough conditions made by the previous government with the IMF.
Ishaq Dar regretted that the petty politics was still being played over Pakistan’s economy by spreading rumors about falling into default which he said was totally a nonsense attitude.
He said the bad economic crisis which the coalition government inherited were even more deeper and complex than that in 2013 and 1990s but with utmost sincerity and prudent policies of the government, the country had come out of quagmire.
“We are now in a position to move forward with full confidence”, he said adding that Pakistan has resilience to meet the challenges as it had huge resources to cope with the problems, but the only thing that had been lacking is lack of consistency in policies and mismanagement in the fiscal sector.
The minister informed that the country’s debt to GDP ratio was improved from 73% to 69% in few years which meant that there was no need to worry about the debts of the country.
He said even the developed countries such as USA and UK had high debt to GDP ratios of over 100%, therefore “We need not to worry about”.
He said the country’s foreign exchange reserves got down due to the fact that the government had been only paying back the debts and not getting new debts for last few months.
Ishaq Dar also invited all political parties to sit together for resolving the countries long standing economic issues by setting apart their differences.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Tariq Bajwa pointing to the problem of real estate sector, said that it had now become the most powerful group in the country. He said trillions of rupees were stuck up in the files of real estate which what he called was a dead money. He said real sector must have to be reformed and taxed.
Secretary Finance Hamid Yaqoob Sheikh in his presentation showed measures to be taken by the government including reforms in power, pensions taxation and privatization sectors to ensure sustainable growth of the country’s economy.
Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) Muhammad Ajmal Gondal suggested to promote industrialization to substitute the imports and reduce trade gap. He said the government should also equally focused on increasing revenues without burdening the common man.
Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Dr Innayat Hussain said the only solutions to overcome subsidies issue was to speed up the privatization process. “We need to think why we have not been able to privatize even a single entity for last several years”, he said adding that the privatization structure and laws should e revisited to resolve this issue.