Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin has said that the government is committed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme and hopes to successfully complete the upcoming review as well as Article IV consultations.
The finance minister said this during a meeting with Esther Perez Ruiz, newly nominated resident representative of the IMF, who paid a courtesy call on him along with outgoing representative Teresa Sanchez on Monday. Ms. 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 added. He commended the IMF for extending timely assistance during testing times.
The finance minister underlined the key initiatives of the government to provide maximum relief to the masses. He said 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 the pandemic.
The finance minister said that the government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to enhance revenue collection and broaden the existing tax base. He also highlighted commendable performance of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in surpassing revenue collection targets in recent months despite ongoing Covid-19. The broadening of the tax base is 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 are 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 during her tenure.
The finance minister affirmed full support and facilitation to Ruiz and wished her well with her new assignment in Pakistan.