- Pakistan and Washington-based lender have been engaged in talks for days over resumption of Extended Fund Facility
- Advisor to PM says govt's priority is to facilitate businesses
Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin on Monday said that agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), under which $1-billion will be released by the international lender, will be announced this week.
The announcement was made by the advisor at an event in Islamabad on Monday.
The IMF programme is seen by many as an important one for Pakistan under which it gets access to foreign currency reserves. However, in return, the country has to show "reforms, and restructuring of the economy". On occasions, this involves privatisation, levying new taxes, and increasing power tariffs. While the IMF says it is to control circular debt, authorities in Pakistan tend to resist this as it causes cost of production to increase.
Meanwhile, Tarin said authorities consider Pakistan's business community as the biggest asset of the country and "it is these entrepreneurs and industrialists that will shape the future of Pakistan".
On Friday, Dr Reza Baqir, Governor State Bank of Pakistan, had also said that the government is about to announce the agreement with the IMF.
Days ago, Tarin said that the discussion with a positive outcome would be completed soon as almost all issues have been finalised except one.
“We have come close to an agreement with the IMF and everything will be fine in a day or two, Tarin had said.
Regarding Pakistan Single Window (PSW) project, the Adviser on Finance pointed out that it will provide a comparative advantage to the business community to enter new markets and enhance exports.
He said that the past two years have been difficult for global supply-chains, as international trade transportation was affected by Covid-19 disruptions, which resulted in multi-fold increase in the cost of production and shipping.
“Worst seems to be over, and as economies are beginning 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 in taking the advantage of new opportunities. As a government, our priority is to facilitate businesses including SMEs, by providing a suitable enabling environment for growth and innovation, and improving their competitiveness by reducing the time and cost of doing business," said the advisor.
He said that the PSW will provide a competitive advantage to Pakistan's business and trading community. “Our government is actively pursuing the agenda of making Pakistan a hub for regional trade and transit, and realising the full impact of Pakistan geostrategic and geoeconomic location.”
He said that in this regard a major milestone was achieved by operationalising the TIR agreement and dispatch of transit consignments to Uzbekistan and Turkey.
“The PSW will further boost this effort of regional connectivity, by effective use of ICT technologies, ensuring enhanced facilitation for trading across borders,” said the advisor.
The PSW is an initiative of federal government with a focus of transforming the trade and industry ecosystem. The programme encompasses several aligned smaller initiatives to support PSW’s cause of transforming trade.