Accord with IMF to be signed this week: Shaukat Tarin

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Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin. — Screengrab from Geo News
Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin. — Screengrab from Geo News

ISLAMABAD: Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin said Monday that all issues have been settled with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and an agreement will be signed this week.

The advisor was addressing the launch ceremony of the Pakistan Single Window (PSW), an ambitious, wide-ranging and comprehensive reform initiative undertaken in the public sector in recent years.

The de-facto finance minister was in Washington last month to lead the Pakistani delegation in talks with the IMF for the revival of the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF). The accord could not be signed due to a disagreement over some conditions set by the lending agency.

However, Pakistani officials had said that there’s no dispute and the agreement will be signed soon.

Speaking on the occasion in Islamabad, Tarin said that the government's job is to provide facilities to the people, adding that there will be no delay in the salaries of government employees.

“We are giving targeted subsidies to control inflation. It is a global problem and prices in the international market are out of my control," he said.

Talking about the amendment to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) rules, the finance advisor said that the SBP law needs constitutional amendments and that we do not have a two-thirds majority for the constitutional amendment.

Referring to the recent cyberattack on the National Bank server, he said that the enemy is sitting in our neighbourhood.

The advisor was of the view that during the last two years, COVID-19 had badly affected the global supply chain and trade, whereas the cost of production and shipping had also gone up.

He said the world economy was recovering now and business activities will not only resume, but also grow at a much faster pace, so there is a dire need to take advantage of this opportune situation

“The worst seems to be over and as economies begin to recover globally, we expect business activity to resume and in fact grow at a much faster pace. Pakistan and Pakistani businesses have to be ready to take advantage of new opportunities,” he said.

Talking about the PSW, he said it would not only facilitate international trade but also help accelerate the digital transformation of the public sector agencies connected to international trade.

He said PSW was in line with the vision of the government to promote competitiveness, transparency and efficiency and lauded Pakistan Customs on leading this initiative.

He said that it was a priority of the government to facilitate businesses, including small and medium-sized ones, by providing a suitable enabling environment for growth and innovation and improving their competitiveness by reducing their cost and time for doing business.

He expected that the single window would provide a comparative advantage to Pakistani businesses and the trading community to enter new markets to enhance exports.

Besides this, he said it would also help counter financial crimes and trade-based money laundering through the integration of international shipping and databases and eventually enable seamless connection in the dissemination of information to Customs, State Bank of Pakistan and other relevant agencies.