Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has dismissed reports that talks between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the resumption of $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) had failed, asserting that they were headed in a positive direction.
"The talks are continuing," Tarin told reporters, after addressing members of the Pakistani community at the consulate general in New York on Sunday night during which he said the government was working hard for an inclusive and sustainable economic growth that benefits all segments of society, especially the poor.
The finance minister came to New York on Friday from Washington where, besides the loan talks, he attended the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. "I don't know what's the basis on which an impression has been given by some that the talks have failed – they are totally wrong," he said.
At this stage, the finance minister said, final details were being worked out and the negotiations would, Insha’Allah, conclude successfully. Tarin said finance secretary Yusuf Khan was still in Washington pursuing the talks with the relevant IMF officials, and that he was in contact with the FBR chairman as well as with him for any advice.
There was an atmosphere of positivity and the next few days would show a productive outcome from the talks, he said.
In this regard, he said his meeting with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and other fund officials were also very "useful and positive".
“The nation shouldn't be disillusioned by some unfounded negative reports,” the finance minister added.
Asked whether the IMF was demanding that Pakistan do more, Tarin said that every banker would ask for when someone applies for a loan. Pakistan, he said, had its red lines to protect its interests, although it has been made clear that the government would pursue the reforms process for sustainable growth.
Speaking to the community members, the finance minister and the State Bank Governor, Dr Reza Baqir, who accompanied him, urged them to invest in the Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA) under which they can directly invest into the shares of companies in Pakistan and units of funds.
In his remarks to the community members, Tarin highlighted the economic priorities of the government, saying that Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken bold decisions that have resulted in stabilizing the economy.
He said that forward-looking fiscal reforms had helped to improve the tax-to-GDP ratio, bring down current account deficit and fiscal deficit while improving revenue generation.
Increasing tax collection and broadening the tax base were key targets of the government’s fiscal agenda, he added.
He thanked Overseas Pakistanis for their role in sustaining the economy through high levels of remittances. The minister also shared steps taken to help the underprivileged through Kamyab Pakistan programme, which he said would help them to achieve self-sufficiency and to realise Prime Minister Imran Khan's vision of a prosperous Pakistan.
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