Pakistan committed to EFF: Shaukat Tarin

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ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Monday assured the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of Pakistan’s commitment to its ongoing Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme and hoped to successfully complete the upcoming review as well as Article IV consultations.

During a meeting with the outgoing and nominated resident representatives of the IMF, the finance minister said the government would formally launch the ‘track and trace’ system for tobacco products on Oct 1 this year. “This is also one of the requirements under the EFF programme,” an official statement quoted Mr Tarin as saying.

The minister told the IMF team that reforms were being carried out in the power sector to address the issue of circular debt.
Negotiations with the IMF for sixth review of the EFF currently under recess along with Article IV consultations will begin on Oct 4. These will be followed by Mr Tarin’s scheduled visit to Washington to hold meetings with the IMF management and attend annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF from Oct 11 to 17.

Esther Perez Ruiz, the nominated IMF resident representative, was on a courtesy call and accompanied by outgoing representative Teresa Sanchez Daban. Ms Ruiz is currently visiting Pakistan on a preassignment mission.

The finance minister felicitated Ms Ruiz and expressed his best wishes for her upcoming assignment beginning in November.

Extending a warm welcome, Mr Tarin told the IMF official that Pakistan was firmly committed to pursuing an all-inclusive and sustainable economic growth with focus on “bottom-up” approach to uplift the marginalised segments of society.

The new IMF representative appreciated Pakistan for its efforts to manage the spread of the virus through a series of smart and targeted lockdowns to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods. She hoped to work closely with the government of Pakistan during her tenure.

To this end, the government intends to engage development partners to broaden economic development through fiscal consolidation and prudent economic measures amid the pandemic and post-Covid scenario.

The finance minister commended the IMF for extending timely assistance during testing times. He briefed the IMF representative on key initiatives to provide maximum relief to the masses and said the government was 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 government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to enhance revenue collection and broaden the existing tax base. He also highlighted the robust performance of the Federal Board of Revenue in surpassing revenue collection targets in recent months despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The broadening of tax base is one of the key priorities of the government, he added.

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