Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has assured the nation that the government is committed to implementing long-term reforms aimed at improving the country’s economic situation.
Speaking to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dar emphasised the need for collective efforts to overcome the current economic challenges. He outlined key areas of focus, including the agricultural sector, the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund, and the development of the IT industry.
Additionally, he addressed concerns about the delay in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program, expressing confidence in Pakistan’s assets and downplaying the possibility of default.
Reforms for Long-Term Improvement: In his address to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar reiterated the government’s commitment to implementing reforms that would pave the way for long-term improvement.
He acknowledged the importance of the agricultural sector, emphasising the need for an agricultural revolution to enhance productivity and ensure food security.
The establishment of a sovereign wealth fund was also highlighted as a means to generate additional revenue and support sustainable economic growth. Furthermore, Dar expressed determination to prioritise the neglected IT sector and capitalise on its potential for job creation and technological advancements.
No technical reason behind delayed IMF program
Addressing concerns regarding the delay in the IMF program, Dar reassured the delegation that there was no technical reason behind it. He emphasised that Pakistan, as a sovereign country, possesses valuable assets worth trillions of dollars, thereby implying that default is not a plausible scenario. While external liabilities stand at approximately $100 billion, the finance minister pointed out that Pakistan’s gas infrastructure alone is valued at around 40 to 45 billion dollars, underscoring the country’s significant assets.
Recognising the vital role of the business community in Pakistan’s economic development, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar called upon them to present reasonable demands for the upcoming budget. He assured the delegation that the government would cooperate with the business community to address their concerns and promote a conducive environment for trade and investment. By fostering a constructive partnership, the government aims to create a business-friendly climate that supports entrepreneurship and economic growth.
IMF loan requirement and government’s approach
Amidst recent developments, it was revealed that the IMF rejected Pakistan’s request to lower the requirement of arranging $6 billion in new loans. Minister of State for Finance Dr Aisha Pasha highlighted that returning to the IMF was Pakistan’s only option, stressing the urgency of fulfilling the financing requirement. Pakistan had sought a reduction in the external financing requirement based on new current account deficit data. However, the IMF insisted on the full $6 billion to demonstrate Pakistan’s commitment to implementing necessary economic reforms.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s reassurances regarding the government’s commitment to long-term reforms and the denial of Pakistan’s possibility of default provide a glimmer of hope amid economic challenges.
The focus on sectors such as agriculture and IT, the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund, and the emphasis on cooperation with the business community signal the government’s determination to foster economic growth and stability.
While the IMF’s rejection of Pakistan’s request poses a hurdle, the government remains steadfast in its efforts to revive the deal and secure the necessary financing to support the country’s economic recovery.