Meeting with IMF scheduled on April 14-15: Finance Minister Aurangzeb


Minister for Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb is addressing media at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in Karachi on March 29, 2024. —Geo News/Screengrab
Minister for Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb is addressing media at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in Karachi on March 29, 2024. —Geo News/Screengrab
  • Aurangzeb says going to hold meeting with IMF in April.
  • Minister says growth in agriculture sector remained 5%.
  • Economy to soon stabilise, he says.

KARACHI: Minister for Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb on Friday said the government was going to hold a meeting with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on April 14 and 15 in Washington.

Addressing journalists during his visit to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in Karachi today, Aurangzeb said features of the new programme will be discussed during the meeting, while detailed talks would be held in Pakistan.

He also reiterated the government’s plans to enter a major programme with the global lender; whereas, the microeconomic stability would also continue with the Fund.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had on March 21 signalled that the new IMF programme was likely to be continued for three years.

“New tranche of loan is likely to be received from the IMF in a few days, however, we would need another programme,” he had said while addressing a session of the Special Investment Facilitation Council’s (SIFC) apex committee attended by civil-military leadership.

Responding to a query regarding IMF, Aurangzeb said the size of the IMF programme had not been discussed, but it was desired that the staff level agreement on the new programme was reached by the end of this financial year.

Shedding light on the agriculture sector, the finance and revenue minister said growth in the agriculture sector remained at 5%. “We have a bumper rice crop this season and are receiving good news about wheat as well,” he added.

The finance czar maintained that the country’s current account was “better” and exchange rate was also “stable”, while the inflation rate has also decreased. He accredited all the accomplishments to the stand-by arrangement (SBA) agreement during PM Shehbaz’s last tenure in office.

“The caretaker government did better work to restore the economy. The economy will stablise soon owing to better economic policies,” the minister said.

Aurangzeb apprised the media that a significant development had been made on outsourcing of airports and privatisation of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). The government’s job was to provide policy framework and lead the private sector, he insisted.

“Our strategy is twofold. Losses are to be minimised in the short and medium term,” he said.

The minister apprised that privatisation of the PIA was at an advanced stage. The DISCOs had to be privatised by enhancing their governance, he added. The government had to trim down the circular debt and losses to the national institutions, he maintained. 

The minister said the economy got off to a good start in 2024 with an improvement in key economic indicators. He said the Law Ministry and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) were working to remove tax leakage.

“The ministry is working to bring more people into the tax net. We will focus on the capital market to increase transparency and protection of investors. The Ministry of Finance will work with the capital market to facilitate access to the capital for small and medium enterprises,” he said. 

He insisted that durability would not be achieved without stopping leakages and energy stealth. The industrial sector provided 22% national growth and 56% tax, he said, adding that the agricultural sector growth would continue in the third quarter.

Rs9.4tr revenue target

Aurangzeb said the revenue target for the current year was Rs9.4 trillion. The minister maintained that the government had to receive money from different entities which could make a significant difference. For instance, he revealed that there were cases worth Rs1.7 trillion in the courts and receiving even half of the amount could also help.

He also said that there were leakages worth Rs3 trillion and it would be great if even half of that was received.

“We want to take the revenue up to Rs12 billion before reaching the non-payers and low payers of taxes. Under privatisation, we are initially focusing on loss-making institutions,” he said.

The minister stated that the policy rate and exchange rate were at the discretion of the State Bank of Pakistan. The inflation was decreasing, it was hoped that the policy rate would also come down, he added.

“We cannot put more burden on taxpayers. Super tax and windfall tax are not sustainable,” said Aurangzeb. 


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