NEW YORK: Adviser to Prime Minister Shaukat Tarin has dismissed reports that talks between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the resumption of $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) had failed, asserting that they were headed in a positive direction.
"The talks are continuing," Tarin told reporters, after addressing members of Pakistani community at the consulate general in New York on Sunday night during which he said the government was working hard for an inclusive and sustainable economic growth that benefits all segments of the society, especially the poor.
Tarin came to New York on Friday from Washington where, besides the loan talks, he attended the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. "I don't know what's the basis on which an impression has been given by some that the talks have failed-- they are totally wrong," he said.
At this stage, he said, final details were being worked out and the negotiations would, inshaAllah, conclude, successfully. Tarin said finance secretary Yusuf Khan was still in Washington pursuing the talks with relevant IMF officials, and that he was in contact with the FBR chairman, as well as, with him for any advice. There was an atmosphere of positivity and the next few days would show a productive outcome from the talks, he said.
In this regard, he said his meetings with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and other fund officials were also very "useful and positive". "The nation shouldn't be disillusioned by some unfounded negative reports," the advisor added.
Asked whether the IMF was demanding that Pakistan do more, Tarin said that every banker would ask for when some one applies for a loan. Pakistan, he said, had its red lines to protect its interests, although it has been made clear that the government would pursue the reform process for sustainable growth.
Earlier, speaking to the community members, Tarin and the State Bank Governor, Dr Reza Baqir, who accompanied him, urged them to invest in the Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA) under which they can directly invest into the shares of companies in Pakistan and units of funds.
Pakistan Consul General in New York, Ayesha Ali, welcomed the Finance Minister and his team to the Pakistan House, and thanked the community members for turning up in such large numbers on a weekend.
Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Munir Akram, was also present. In his remarks to the community members, Tarin highlighted the economic priorities of the government, saying that Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken bold decisions that have resulted in stabilising the economy.
He said that forward-looking fiscal reforms had helped to improve tax to GDP ratio, bring down current account deficit and fiscal deficit while improving revenue generation. Increasing tax collection and broadening the tax base were key targets of the Government's fiscal agenda, he added.
He thanked Overseas Pakistanis for their role in sustaining the economy through high levels of remittances. The minister also shared steps taken to help the underprivileged through Kamyab Pakistan programme, which he said would help them to achieve self-sufficiency and to realize Prime Minister Imran Khan's vision of a prosperous Pakistan.
The Deputy State Bank Governor, Dr Murtaza Syed, explained in detail the Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA) and other programmes introduced for the welfare of the people.
He lauded the overwhelming response of the Pakistani Diaspora to the Roshan Digital Pakistan initiative, saying that there was tremendous potential for growth in remittances. An interactive session followed in which the audience comprising prominent community members and academics asked questions which were answered by the finance minister and Dr Baqir.