ISLAMABAD: The Minister of State for Finance and Revenue, Ayesha Ghous Pasha, stated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is verifying external financing from friendly countries such as China, UAE and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
She claimed this in a briefing at the senate’s Finance and Revenue Committee under the chairmanship of Senator Saleem Mandviwalla which was met to discuss the IMF program and foreign exchange dollar instability.
“All the prerequisite actions have been taken and the only touch point left is external financing which is being verified by the IMF from China, UAE and Saudi Arabia,” said Pasha. She elaborated that there were concerns about securing financing from brotherly countries. But since yesterday evening, progress is being made on the issue. Pasha reiterated that all IMF agenda items have been met by and there was no cause for worry at this point in time. China has already helped and assurances will come from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, she insisted.
The state minister also said that this time the lender wants no leaf unturned, pointing towards the difficult but necessary economic decision the government recently took such as the imposition of Rs 170 billion in additional taxes, and price hikes and reforms in the energy sector.
Senator Farooq H. Naek inquired on the newly introduced petrol subsidy by the government to which the minister of state replied that the petrol subsidy has not yet been put into practice and a plan is being worked out.
Naek also recommended a draft of a regular program on food subsidy for the lower middle class. He emphasized that food inflation is at high and the government should envisage a plan to provide food subsidies instead of providing free food, as the latter would encourage beggary.
The chairman of the Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan, Malik Bostan, also briefed members on the issue of foreign exchange dollar instability.
The association discussed various recommendations and assured that if policies are revised and restrictions are relaxed by keeping in view the current economic situation of the country, dollar stability can be achieved.
He added that Pakistan is an economically stable country if focus is given on agriculture and natural resources then it doesn’t require an IMF deal.
In recommendations, he emphasized to cease the Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement which entailed the state bank to deposit up to $10,000 without verification. The exchange companies association added that they bought $4 billion in the country last year and has the capacity to bring $1 million every month.