During a press conference at the Parliament House on Thursday, Aisha Ghaus Pasha, the Minister of State for Finance and Revenue, announced that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not only satisfied with the Pakistani government’s measures to generate an additional Rs170 billion in revenue through the supplementary finance bill, but is also surprised by the speedy implementation of the agreed measures.
The revenue measures, which were agreed upon with the IMF, have already been put in place. Pasha added that the IMF is also engaged with Pakistan’s friendly countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and China, with respect to the country’s external financing needs and will update the Executive Board accordingly.
The minister further stated that discussions with friendly countries on external financing are ongoing, and progress is being made. Virtual talks with the IMF are expected to be held late Thursday night to discuss the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP), and the government has submitted further clarification to the draft of the MEFP. Pasha noted that the finalization of the MEFP would not take a long time.
Pasha had earlier briefed the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and shared that the culture of giving subsidies in Pakistan is an old one that needs to end.
Senator Mohsin Aziz suggested that instead of increasing taxes on luxury items, a ban should be imposed on their import to prevent smuggling. Pasha explained that the government had first considered a total ban on luxury item imports, but the WTO, the IMF, and other international agencies were against it.
While agriculture income tax is a provincial matter, Pasha emphasized that the sector needs to contribute to the economy. She also stated that, as part of the austerity measures, a scheme is under consideration to enforce the manufacturing of electric vehicles, and the government is deliberating on the financing mode to bridge the gap. Overall, the government has worked quickly on implementing prior actions and commitments to the IMF program.
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