No fresh bailout

The federal government has ruled out possibility of approaching the IMF for a fresh bailout package as the current account deficit is going to be controlled through appropriate measures. This quite categorical and welcome announcement has been made by new Finance Minister Dr Miftah Ismail while addressing a post-budget press conference along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Revenue Senator Haroon Akhtar in Islamabad the other day.
According to media, the Minister said we have no plan to approach the IMF for the bailout package, the foreign exchange reserves will increase before June as the government has just secured one billion dollars financing, the government has allocated Rs 100 billion in the budget for eliminating the circular debt which has swelled to Rs 450 billion, after clearing Rs 100 billion the amount of circular debt will be reduced to Rs 350 billion which is a right level budget hopefully will be restricted to 5.5% GDP during the current fiscal year and brought further down to 4.9% of the GDP next year.
Senator Haroon Akhtar jibed in by saying that the government has taken major steps to improve current account deficit including announcing export package, imposing regulatory duty on luxury items import and also resorted to currency devaluation twice, these measures have increased exports by 13% in nine months and growth of imports has also reduced and as such there is no need to panic as the government has taken adequate and appropriate measures for the economy and these have proven fruitful. Both of them are important members of economic managers’ team and as such what they say has to be believed while keeping fingers crossed and praying that all their sayings prove true.
M Z RIFAT
Lahore

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