Finance Minister Aurangzeb stresses need for new IMF programme


KARACHI: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb on Friday stressed the need for a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, hoping for a staff-level agreement (SLA) by the end of next fiscal year, ARY News reported.

Addressing the business community at Gong Ceremony at Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) Karachi, the finance minister said that the government was going to hold a meeting with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on April 14 and 15 in Washington.

He noted that features of the new programme will be discussed during the meeting, adding that there have not been any final discussions with the Fund yet.

Muhammad Aurangzeb noted that the country needs a new IMF programme that should last for at least three years. “We need the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) to execute the structural reform agenda,” he added.

The $3 billion standby arrangement with the IMF expires on April 11, and the two sides reached a staff-level agreement regarding the disbursal of the final tranche of $1.1bn last week.

Shedding light on the economic situation, the finance minister said that with significant improvements in key economic indicators the economy in year 2024 commenced on a better note.

He said that the Ministry of Finance, in collaboration with the Ministry of Law and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), was working to eliminate leakages in tax revenue and bring more people into the tax net.

Read More: Pakistan needs another IMF loan programme for stability, says PM Sharif

The minister mentioned that government was working to bring reforms in State-owned enterprise (SOEs), privatization and energy sectors besides improving tax system. He, however highlighted the role of the private sector in economic development.

He acknowledged the importance of the capital market in advancing economic growth adding that the government would work with Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to create a conducive regulatory environment for economic growth in the capital market.

Muhammad Aurangzeb said the government would focus more on improving the efficiency, transparency, and protection of investors in the capital market to enhance its performance.

He said the finance ministry would collaborate with the capital market to facilitate access to capital for small and medium-sized businesses.

Aurangzeb expressed gratitude for Chinese participation and investment in Pakistan s capital market and stock holdings.

He emphasized that the growing cooperation between PSX and Chinese exchanges was vital for the economic development of Pakistan and mutual benefits for both countries.

Meanwhile, during his visit to Karachi, the federal minister also visited Utility Stores Corporation (USC) to review the coverage and benefits of the Ramadan Relief Package. The purpose of the visit was to ensure implementation of the package.

It is pertinent to mention, the allocated amount for the Ramadan Relief Package has been increased from Rs. 7.5 billion to Rs. 12 billion.

The minister discussed the challenges in implementing the Ramadan Relief Package with USC officials and also met with the public in Karachi to addressed their concerns related to the package.

The minister assessed the availability of essential items at utility stores in Karachi and also reviewed a newly launched APP providing details of mobile utility stores and sales points.

He verified the operating hours of mobile utility stores and sales points to facilitate public access through the newly launched APP.

Aurangzeb reviewed the distribution and sale statistics of items under and oversaw the setup and operations of nominated mobile units for distributing subsidized food items among deserving individuals.

The Finance Minister emphasized fair distribution among deserving individuals and stated that efforts were being made to ensure quality of goods.

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