• Pakistan had showed impressive performance by carrying out economic reforms in accordance with the Extended Fund Facility of the International Monetary Fund.
  • The country's exports had also started showing positive numbers, which was imperative for sustainable economic stability.
  • It had managed to collect 50pc more General Sales Tax (GST) and around 30pc more domestic tax revenues as compared to the same period of last year.

ISLAMABAD: IMF's Director Middle East and Central Asia Jihad Azour on Tuesday said Pakistan had showed impressive performance by carrying out economic reforms in accordance with the Extended Fund Facility of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“It is a new programme and it is important to give some time to the government for taking more reform measures to show good results," Jihad said while addressing a press briefing here at the finance ministry.

Pakistan, he said, was trying to take number of reforms in various sectors of the economy.

“In fact the reform process started well ahead of the IMF programme with Pakistan, which showed the seriousness of the government in achieving stability of the country's economy."

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, State Bank of Pakistan Governor Reza Baqir, Minister for Planning and Development Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Minister for Economic Affairs Division Hammad Azhar, Mission Chief to Pakistan Ernesto Ramirez-Rigo, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zaidi, Secretary Finance Naveed Kamran Baloch and Spokesman ministry of finance Omer Hamid Khan were also present at the briefing.   Appreciating the government's reforms measures, the IMF director said it had successfully handled the issue of exchange rate and monetary policy.

He said the IMF programme would be seen helping Pakistan's economy to achieve stability as it would make sure that all the commitments made by the Pakistan government with its people were achieved soon.

The IMF team is on a visit to Pakistan till September 20 to review its programme's progress .

Jihad said the IMF team would again visit Pakistan by the end of October or in early November to review Pakistan's economic performance during first quarter of fiscal year 2019-20.

Replying to a question, he said at present, the Pakistan government was doing a good job in tax collection which was evident from the fact that in two months, it had managed to collect 50pc more General Sales Tax (GST) and around 30pc more domestic tax revenues as compared to the same period of last year.

The country's exports had also started showing positive numbers, which was imperative for sustainable economic stability, he added.

He said it was important for a big country like Pakistan to grow at a fast pace which would require certain structural reforms.

He said due to the reform measures, there were some inflationary pressure on the people, however, the government was managing some fiscal space to ensure social protection of the extreme poor of the country.

To another question, he said nobody could expect to change the whole scenario dramatically and immediately.

“The plan that we set is on track and gradually more results will be surfaced on the ground."

Responding to another question, Jihad said Egypt and Pakistan were two different economies and, therefore, the solutions would also be different.

To a question regarding the world oil crisis, he said the IMF had certain number of recommendations for oil importing countries, including that they must gradually reduce their dependency on petroleum products.

Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on the occasion said the IMF programme was an important one for Pakistan and the government was trying to achieve all the targets and benchmarks set by the the Fund in a smooth way.

SBP Governor Reza Baqir said the devaluation of Pak rupee against US dollar was showing results as Pakistan's exports were growing now.

He said the economic growth projection for the current year was 3.5% and that growth trajectory would further go up in years to come.