Govt fully committed to programme, IMF official told
Govt fully committed to programme, IMF official told

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said he assured the new resident representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the government is committed to the Fund programme, and hopes to successfully complete the upcoming review as well as Article IV consultations.

On Monday, Esther Perez Ruiz, the nominated resident representative of the IMF paid a courtesy call on Tarin. Ruiz was accompanied by the outgoing IMF representative Teresa Sanchez.

Ruiz is currently visiting Pakistan on a pre-assignment mission. The finance minister felicitated the nominated resident representative and expressed his best wishes for her upcoming assignment beginning in November 2021.

While extending a warm welcome, the finance minister stated that Pakistan is firmly committed to pursuing an all-inclusive and sustainable economic growth with key focus on "bottom-up" approach to uplift marginalised segments of the society.

To this end, the government intends to engage development partners to broaden economic development through fiscal consolidation and prudent economic measures amid Covid-19 pandemic and in post-Covid-19 scenario. He commended the IMF for extending timely assistance during testing times.

Power sector to take centre stage in IMF talks

The finance minister underlined the key initiatives of the government to provide maximum relief to the masses. The government is taking a range of administrative, policy and relief measures to absorb the upward pressure on prices of basic food commodities due to pandemic.

The government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to enhance revenue collection and to broaden the existing tax base. He also highlighted commendable performance of the FBR in surpassing revenue collection targets in recent months despite on-going Covid-19.

The broadening of tax base in one of the key priorities of the government, he added. The finance minister informed that implementation of track and trace for tobacco is being started from 1st October 2021. This is also one of the requirements under the IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme. He also stated that reforms were being carried out in the power sector to address the issue of circular debt.

The new representative of IMF commended efforts of Pakistan in managing the spread of virus through a series of smart and targeted lockdowns to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods. She expressed hope to work closely with the Government Pakistan during her tenure. The finance minister affirmed full support and facilitation to Ruiz and wished her well with her new assignment in Pakistan.

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