Finance Minister holds discussions with IMF leaders

WASHINGTON: Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh met with top International Monetary Fund officials here Sunday as part of the ongoing dialogue and discussed progress in the Fund’s ongoing $ 11.3 program for Pakistan.Under the program, Pakistan has so far received $ 8 billion.The finance minister’s meetings with IMF leaders – including Deputy Managing Director Nemat Shafik, Director Middle East Masood Ahmed and IMF Mission Chief for Pakistan Adnan Mazerie – took place ahead of fifth review of the performance for release of remaining two tranches of $ 3.8 billion.Shaikh described the dialogue with IMF as ongoing.“Our dialogue with the IMF is an ongoing one in which we are constantly reviewing the macro-economic situation in Pakistan and positive developments that have taken place on the external sector in terms of historically high exports,historically high remittances and historically high (forex) reserves position,” the finance minister told APP.

At the same time, Shaikh added, the government is “purusing economic reforms measures in order to be self-sufficient and have an equitable tax system and improve service delivery to citizens,” Hafeez Shaikh said.The finance minister briefed his interlocutors about Islamabad’s “measures for fiscal austerity including expenditure control, revenue mobilization including elimination of exemptions for sectors, bringing new sectors into the tax net, purusing 700,000 additional tax payers for income tax,the levy of flood-related taxes and the focus on macro-economic stability.”Dr Shaikh also spoke about Pakistan’s liberal investment regime, promoting prosperity in the rural areas through agricultural pricing and promotion of exports, which are already touching new hieghts this financial year. – APP