IMF program to support govt’s economic reforms: Hafeez

ECC directs petroleum division to divert business to Railways

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WASHINGTON
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its Washington meeting on Wednesday approved $6 billion loan for Pakistan under its bailout programme. Earlier in the day, the IMF executive board held a meeting in Washington to make the final decision regarding the provision of bailout package to Pakistan.
Pakistan’s government and the IMF had already signed staff agreement on May 12. The Executive Board of the IMF will give its final nod to the agreement under which Pakistan will receive six billion dollars loan package from the lender in three years under the extended fund facility.
The final budget measures passed by the assembly along with a report on compliance with all prior actions will be key elements in the board’s decision to grant Pakistan’s request for a $6 billion bailout facility. The approved version of the budget and finance bill are expected to be transmitted to the Fund.
The government in its budget proposals for the next financial year has added Rs. 357 billion loan from the IMF. An IMF team will visit Islamabad every three months to review economic indicators of the country. The government has already fulfilled all IMF’s conditions before signing of agreement.
The prime minister’s adviser on Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh confirmed on Wednesday that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EEF) for Pakistan to support the incumbent government’s economic reforms. Our program supports broad-based growth by reducing imbalances in the economy. Social spending has been strengthened to completely protect vulnerable segments, he tweeted.
Shaikh in another tweet said a structural reform agenda, which includes improving public finances and reducing public debt through revenue reforms, is a key part of the programme. This support bodes well for the country & is a testament to Govt’s resolve for ensuring financial discipline & sound economic management.
Minister of State for Revenue, Muhammad Hammad Azhar has said the doors of international market would open up after signing of loan agreement with International Monetary Fund. Talking to a news channel, he said the government would achieve the tax target set for the next fiscal year.
About PTI’s amnesty scheme, he said the response is very good and a large number of people got benefit from this scheme. He said a programme is being formulated with Asian Development Bank, under which, a state-of-the-art, transit and cargo facility will be provided at the borders of Torkham and Chaman. He said a central Asian route leading to Gwadar is also going to open in next few months.
Meanwhile, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet on Wednesday directed the petroleum division to divert surplus business to Pakistan Railways (PR) that offered lowest freight charges as compared to other modes of transportation. The committee which met here on Wednesday with Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was briefed about utilization of PR services for transportation of petroleum products to upward country.
Giving presentation to ECC, Ministry of Maritime Affairs emphasized about the urgency of establishment of third terminal at Port Qasim Authority (PQA) to meet gas shortage in the country in years ahead. In order to expedite the process of establishing of 3rd LNG terminal, the Committee approved the resolutions of the PQA’s Board by exempting the Authority from public tendering for appointment of legal consultant through negotiated tendering.
The Committee also approved the resolution of the Board to allow amendment in PQA master plan to accommodate the prospective 3rd LNG Terminal. It may be recalled that the ECC in its decision, in February 2019, had directed Ministry of Maritime Affairs to expeditiously work on setting up of an additional LNG terminal. Ministry of National Food Security and Research updated the Committee about wheat stock position in the country.
Moreover, the Federal Board of Revenue on Wednesday announced that Rs70bn revenue was collected through Asset Declaration Scheme. A FBR spokesperson told the journalists that a total 110,000 people had taken benefit from the tax amnesty scheme and added that over 25,000 people were in pipeline.
Last year, 84,000 people had availed the scheme and over Rs 124bn revenue had been collected, said that spokesperson. It is pertinent to mention here that deadline to declare assets under Assets Declaration Scheme through a presidential ordinance ended Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zaidi had said that one lac five thousand people had benefited from the scheme. He had expressed hope that the government would be able to collect tax worth Rs45 billion through the asset declaration scheme, adding that sales tax registration can be done online from now on. The scheme which was supposed to close on July 1 was extended for three more days with an aim to benefit more people

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