Sunday Nov 14, 2021
KARACHI: Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin on Sunday said the government would give the nation "good news" about the stalled $6 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme "soon".
Addressing the foundation stone laying ceremony of a hospital in Karachi's Naya Nazimabad, Tarin said that IMF wishes to announce the deal on its own.
He said that negotiations this time around, compared to March, have been "much better" and the government even refused certain conditions put forth by the IMF. He said that IMF programmes are "tough" on governments.
The PM's advisor said Pakistan can also expect a financial support package amounting to $3 billion from Saudi Arabia "in the next few days".
On Thursday, in an exclusive interview with the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Bin Said Al-Malki said Saudi Arabia will soon disburse cash deposits to Pakistan under the pledged financial assistance after approval of the Royal Court and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in a few days.
“This will happen soon, Insha Allah. There will be the agreement from the Royal Court and the MoU will be signed in a few days for the payment, and also for the deferred oil payment [facility],” the Saudi envoy said.
Tarin, in his address today, said that the government is working on a long-term strategy to strengthen the economy on a sustainable basis.
"We need progress that lasts 20 years, not five years," he said.
Tarin said the government stands with the common man and is taking every possible measure to facilitate the vulnerable segments of the society. He reminded the nation that the government has launched Ehsaas Rashan programme, under which it will provide a discount of Rs1,000 a month, constituting a 30% subsidy on flour, pulses, ghee, and cooking oil per unit purchase, to 130 million people.
The government has also announced Rs1,400 billion in interest-free loans to 4 million households, he added.
Lauding the leadership of PM Imran Khan, he said that the premier took balanced decisions to protect the livelihood of the people as well as the economy during the COVID-19 crisis.
He said that the government is focusing its energies on the construction and agriculture sectors, besides industries, to ensure growth in all areas.
The advisor said that significant growth in agriculture production has been witnessed in the last year and the government is trying to increase revenue from 9% to 11% and is also looking to increase industrial exports.
He said that economic experts say that the economy is lagging behind due to lack of savings and trade imbalances.
Tarin noted that 60% of Pakistan's population is below the age of 30 and 1.5 to 2 million jobs are needed every year.
Speaking of inflation, he said that it is a "global phenomenon" and Pakistanis have lesser purchasing power.
He also touched upon the rapid decline of rupee witnessed over the past few months, saying that speculation (satta) had a hand in it.
According to Tarin, the real value of dollar "should be Rs166-167" and Rs8-9 are being lost to speculation.
He vowed that the government will tighten the noose around bookies.
According to the premier's advisor, cartelisation is also being witnessed in the ghee industry and the Competition Commission of Pakistan has been asked to look into the matter.
On the remarks recently issued by State Bank of Pakistan Governor Reza Baqir, in the UK, where he had said that dollar appreciation can also be viewed to be beneficial as "remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis are on the rise due to the exchange rate [fluctuation]", Tarin said: "The State Bank of Pakistan is an independent institution. They must be approached for comment on the governor's remarks."