Action plan regarding FATF will be ready by June, assures Miftah Ismail


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister's Adviser on Finance, Miftah Ismail, said on Friday that the government is reviewing the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regarding measures to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing. 

Addressing a news conference, Ismail said an action plan in this regard would be ready by June, adding that the government is looking into what more could be done on this front. 

Moreover, the finance adviser said that the imports related to power plants have increased substantially, adding that the concerns shown by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding the country's economy are correct.

Ismail warned that the current account deficit is increasing continuously and warned that in the coming years, the country's debt will rise further.

He claimed however that whosoever is in power will not face any difficulties to return the debt. 

Talking about state-run companies such as the Pakistan Steel Mills and the Pakistan International Airlines, the finance adviser said these organisations are running in huge losses.

"The steel mills could not pay its gas bills. The number of employees there are ten times higher than international practice," said Ismail. 

He recalled that the federal government offered the Sindh government to buy the PSM for one rupee but the provincial government rejected the offer. 

Ismail also termed his recent statement about selling the PSM for free to whosoever settles PIA's losses satire.

In the news conference, Ismail claimed that the country's economy is not facing any adverse issues and will grow by six per cent in the current fiscal year.

He informed further that the country's foreign exchange reserves stand at $12.20 billion whereas debt and interest payments amount to $3 billion. 

Ismail stressed that revenue collection is showing continuous growth and that the country's exports will grow sharply in the coming years. 

The finance adviser also proposed to talk to China about a free trade agreement, saying the country's strategy should be to protect the local industry. 

He informed that the prime minister will decide about a tax amnesty scheme in a week's time. 

The adivser also said that his boss is Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former premier and party chief Nawaz Sharif and not the IMF.