Pakistan-IMF discussion starts to review $6 bn programme


ISLAMABAD, Feb 3 (APP):The International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff mission has started discussion here with the government authorities to review Pakistan’s performance under its US $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh informed media persons here outside his office on Monday. The team would continue talks with the Pakistan government economic team until February 14 and successful quarterly review would lead to release of third tranche of $450 million next month.

Under the 39 month IMF extended fund facility, Pakistan has already received $1.44 billion in two installments. During its stay in Pakistan, the IMF team will review performance of various ministries and departments besides reviewing the energy and tax reforms.

Talking to media persons, Hafeez Shaikh said that inflation rate in the country would start receding soon which would gradually come down to comfortable level. The advisor said the federal government had taken a number of initiatives to bring down prices of various commodities. “The nation will see that soon the prices start falling down”, he added.

Hafeez Shaikh said in order to control inflation, the government did not borrow money from State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) besides minimizing budget deficit by reducing unnecessary expenditures. Proposing the provinces to play their role in controlling inflation, he said that hoarding and profiteering issues must be resolved through administrative measures.

To a question, he said that the prices of food items that of fresh vegetables increased due to seasonal changes and hoped that the prices would come down in days to come. He said decision of importing wheat was also taken in a bid to control inflation. He said due to prudent measures taken by the government, the rupee-dollar parity had become stable now.

The advisor said that due to stability and peace in the country, investors from across the world were coming to Pakistan and wanted to avail huge opportunities offered by the country. He said in collaboration with the IMF, the government had doubled the funding of Ehsaas programme besides providing a Rs 7 billion package for Utility Stores Corporation to provide daily use items to the poor segment of the society on subsidized rates. He said that the government was providing subsidy to 72 percent of electricity consumers.

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