Claiming that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has softened its conditions with regard to lending loan to Pakistan, the Finance Minister Asad Umar Monday admitted Pakistan was close to signing an agreement for economic assistance package with the international lender.
“It’s a matter of satisfaction that the International Monetary Fund has shown flexibility on its position and we are likely to signing an agreement shortly”. The head of Imran Khan’s financial team said while addressing the business community at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry here.
As per the Finance Ministry sources, Pakistan and IMF have agreed over the key features of the bailout deal after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting with the IMF chief Christine Lagarde in Dubai. The agreement is expected to be finalized by April, the ministry’s sources said adding the lender is prepared to provide six billion dollars to Pakistan in the bailout, sources further said.
Umar said a deal with the IMF looks imminent and that there was a convergence of views between the two parties on the need to implement structural reforms in the country, reiterating the prime minister’s remarks in the aftermath of the meeting.
“There has been a decrease in the difference we had with the IMF. The IMF has changed its position… It seems we have come closer to an agreement with the IMF. Insha’Allah this will be the last agreement. This will happen when businesses grow,” he said.
The finance minister stressed that Pakistan’s economy would be lifted by its people, not by anyone coming from the outside. “If we take the right decisions the economy would rise. It is the responsibility of the business and trading community to put Pakistan on the path towards progress.”
Asad Umar said government will simplify the tax procedure in order to widen the tax net. He said a pilot project to this effect will be introduced for traders in Islamabad first and then will replicate in other parts of the country.
He said the government had not stopped PayPal from entering into the Pakistani market. “PayPal is not stopped on my desk, the State Bank or in any other government institution. We are chasing PayPal,” the finance minister said, stressing that he was aware of PayPal being an excellent source of income for Pakistani youngsters who work from home.
Asad also underscored the importance of increasing trade with neighboring countries saying Pakistani products have a huge potential in Iran, Afghanistan and other countries of the region. He, however, said there can be considerable improvement in trade ties with India if the Kashmir issue was resolved.