IMF deal to be Pakistan’s last through major reforms; says Asad

IMF deal to be Pakistan’s last through major reforms; says Asad

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance and Revenue Asad Umer has said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government would make contact with International Monetary Fund (IMF) as `last one ‘ in the history of the country
through major increase in exports and decline in trade deficit in future.

Speaking on floor of the House in National Assembly on Tuesday, the minister said that PPPP, PML-N and former dictators also contacted with IMF in their tenures and it would be the 19th IMF program if PTI led government has decided for the same.

He said that present government is committed for the welfare of the people of Pakistan and it decreased the gas prices for export industries of the country. He said that previous government left loss of Rs. 154 billion in gas sector but the government did not put burden on the majority of the people.

He said that electricity prices have not been increased for the 70 percent population of the country and the electricity prices for tube wells have been decreased upto 50 percent.

The export taxes of Rs. 5 billion have been abolished and the government would further reduce it if pointed out, the minister added.

He said second phase of CPEC will be started after infrastructure phase and focus would be to reduce trade deficit with China.
The framework is being prepared for this purpose and work will be started on it through bilateral cooperation, he maintained.

Asad Umer said that efforts are underway to back export industry through financing by banking sectors and to increase the financial assets by support to agriculture and housing sectors.
He said that employment opportunities to youth are among the priority of the government and 2 million jobs would be created through SME sector.

The minister said that talks with IMF and friendly countries are underway to avoid complete dependence as financial confidence is achieved through help from various means.
Three meetings have been held with IMF while the Saudi Package has given lot of confidence to improve economic situation of the country.

He defended the government's decision to approach friendly countries as well as the IMF for help so as to not be dependent on any single source.
The minister said that there has been improvement in stock exchange as 5000 points got increased in the stock market within ten days before the announcement of package from Saudi Arabia.

He said that trade deficit was 17-18 billion dollars in 2013 but it increased upto 35 billion dollar till last year. He said that budget deficit was 18 billion dollar last year as the average loss per month was 2 billion dollar. To overcome such crisis, the minister said that previous government devalued the rupee because budget deficit increased upto Rs. 1000 billion (from 4.1 percent to 6.6 percent).

He said that loans were obtained from banks in past and currency notes worth Rs. 1200 billion were issued which resulted towards economic instability.
The incumbent government after coming into power, the minister said, decreased the expenditures and increased the tax net.

He said that there is need of bailout package to overcome economic crisis and the government would contact with anyone for this purpose in dignified way.