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Pakistan Committed to Extended Fund Facility, Tarin Assures IMF

by Newsweek Pakistan

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Finance minister informs new resident representative Islamabad is pursuing sustainable economic growth aimed at uplifting marginalized segments of society

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Monday assured the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Pakistan was committed to the currently “paused” Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program, and hoped it would resume after an upcoming review.

Negotiations with the IMF for a sixth review of the EFF, which has been in recess for the past three months, along with Article IV consultations are set to begin on Oct 4. Following their completion, Tarin is scheduled to visit Washington and meet the IMF management as well as attend annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF from Oct. 11 to 17. If the review is successful, the IMF would facilitate the immediate disbursement of $1 billion, while the Asian Development Bank would issue $600 million and the World Bank $1 billion during the remaining fiscal year.

According to a statement issued by the Finance Ministry, Tarin met the outgoing and nominated resident representatives of the IMF and assured them that the government was undertaking reforms in the power sector to address the issue of circular debt. He also said the government would formally launch a “track and trace” system for tobacco products from Oct. 1, stressing that this was in line with the requirements of the EFF program.

The nominated IMF resident representative, Esther Perez Ruiz, is currently visiting Pakistan on a pre-assignment mission. Congratulating her on her appointment, the finance minister conveyed his best wishes for the formal start of her assignment in November. He told her that Pakistan was firmly committed to pursuing an all-inclusive and sustainable economic growth with focus on “bottom-up” approach to uplift the marginalized segments of society.

To achieve these goals, he said, the government wanted to engage development partners to broaden economic development through fiscal consolidation and prudent economic measures that factored in the pandemic and the post-COVID global scenario.

Commending the IMF for its timely assistance during the COVID crisis, Tarin briefed the IMF representatives on key initiatives being undertaken to provide relief to citizens. He said the government was initiative a range of administrative, policy and relief measures to absorb the upward pressure on prices of basic food commodities due to the pandemic.

According to the finance minister, the government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to enhance revenue collection and broaden the existing tax base, which he described as a key priority. He said the Federal Board of Revenue had surpassed its revenue collection targets in the current fiscal despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The nominated IMF representative appreciated Pakistan for its efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus through a series of targeted lockdowns that balanced protecting lives and livelihoods. She said she hoped to work closely with the Government of Pakistan during her tenure.

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