ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have successfully completed 7th review of the extended fund facility paving the way for release of next tranche of 506 million dollars to Pakistan by June this year.
This was announced by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar while briefing newsmen, along with IMF Mission Chief Harald Finger, after completion of final round of talks with IMF in Islamabad on Monday afternoon. He said it is for the first time that Pakistan has reached the level of 7th review with IMF under any programme.
The finance minister said revenue collection by FBR (Federal Board of Revenue) in first ten months of the current financial year is Rs1,969 billion, which is 12.8% increase over 1,745 billion rupees of comparable period last year.
“The main reason for reaching this level is the economic charter which was part of our manifesto in the 2013 general elections. At that time, Pakistan was not in the IMF program nor was it a member of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).”
“We reached this point after 20 months but we cannot be complacent because we still have a lot to cover.”
He said Pakistan is determined to achieve the fiscal deficit target of 4.9% this year and next year’s target has been kept at 4.3% in view of expenditure on Operation Zarb-e-Azb and rehabilitation of TDPs (temporarily displaced persons).
He cited a World Bank report and Standard and Poor’s revision of Pakistan’s credit ratings as showing evidence that the economy is up on the upturn, adding that it was a moment of happiness for the country.
The minister said that a management level board meeting will take place in June during which 306 million Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) or as per the current rate, $506 million will be released to Pakistan in June 2015 subject to the approval of the meeting.
Dar stated that progress in the economy is not just attributed to lower oil prices. He said that Pakistan is on track to meet its targets for fiscal deficit by June 2015.
Current Account Deficit, which usually remained over two per cent for a year, is likely to be under one per cent this year because of decline in prices of oil in the international market and increased remittances by overseas Pakistanis. Overseas Pakistanis sent 14.97 billion dollars in first ten months as against 12.9 billion during the same period last year, showing 15 per cent increase.
Dar said foreign exchange reserves with State Bank of Pakistan were 17.6 billion dollar and the government has a target of crossing the level of reserves above 18.5 billion dollars in coming Ramazan.
He said in April this year, inflation was recorded at 2.1% which is lowest in twelve years. The average consumer price index for first ten months was 4.8% as against 8.4% same period last year.
“National Identity Card number would be the tax number from next financial year,” he said.
The IMF mission chief confirmed that staff level agreement has been reached with Pakistan and after approval of the Board; Pakistan would receive next tranche under extended fund facility in June this year.
He acknowledged that Pakistan’s economy has made significant progress and shown resilience. The IMF official said Pakistan has successfully met all performance criteria agreed with the Fund.
Last week, a Pakistani delegation led by Dar and the IMF team headed by Harald Finger completed detailed deliberations for the seventh review in Dubai. However, the final round of review on pending policy matters was held in Islamabad today.
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