KARACHI (9 News) – Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Thursday termed that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has no link with the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award.
He said while speaking alongside Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi, and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman Shabbar Zaidi at Governor’s House in Karachi today.
Commenting on the economic situation of Pakistan, he said that the country’s economic condition was in turmoil when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government came into power last year.
“When this government took control, the total debt on the country was at Rs.31 trillion. In the past two years, foreign exchange reserves have come down from $18 billion to less than $10bn. The country’s trade deficit, the difference between exports and imports, was more than $20bn annually,” Hafeez Shaikh said.
Approaching IMF is part of difficult decision
“Approaching IMF is a part of the difficult decision that we are undertaking to save the country from economic turmoil, we are trying to increase employment opportunities and wages for the employed class. The economic growth is meager compared to Inflation,” he confessed.
Foreign reserves fell to $10 billion
Hafeez Sheikh has said that the government has taken a few important and tough decisions to improve economy after it’s foreign reserves fell to their lowest, $10 billion. He also said that the government was looking to borrow $2-3 billion from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to support the rapidly-declining reserves.
IMF bailout agreed on low interest rates
The adviser said that the government has agreed on low interest rates for the $6 billion bailout package from the IMF.
Talking about the $6bn IMF bailout, he said the government had agreed on low interest rates for the economic package from the global lender. “It has been decided that the low usage consumers would not be affected if electricity prices ever rise. We have set aside Rs216bn in budget for this purpose,” he said.
Allocate 800 billion rupees for development programs
The finance adviser informed that the government would allocate around 800 billion rupees for the development programs in the next budget while allocation for social security program will be increased to 180 billion rupees which is 100 billion rupees at the moment.
User consuming under 300 units will not be effected
“A user consuming 300 or less units will not be effected by any new taxes that might be imposed,” the adviser mentioned. Prices of gas units will see an increase but the financial advisor ensured that the new prices will not affect 40 per cent of the consumers.
The chief financial advisor expressed resolve to keep the people in lower strata of the economy who are economically weak and impoverished under special consideration.
Least amount of burden in terms of taxation in budget
Talking about the impending budget announcement Sheikh said, “The budget has been made bearing in mind the difficulties being faced by the people, we will try and put the least amount of burden in terms of taxation and I must also emphasize curbing expenditure.”
On this occasion, the FBR Chairman said that Amnesty Schemes has fully supported by all business community and they have declared it to be the interest of country’s economy.
Governor Sindh Imran Ismail said that incumbent government wanted to address the problems of trade community and Sind Industrial Liaison Committee has been formed in this regard.
“On the directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, his entire economic and financial team arrived in Karachi today and met with the prominent businessmen and members of the representative bodies from the city,” Ismail told reporters at the press conference.