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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin said on Tuesday that the approval of pending sixth review of the extended fund facility (EFF) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is contingent to fulfilment of about five prior actions set by the Fund.

Talking to media persons, after speaking as the chief guest at an award distribution ceremony of the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP), the adviser said that as soon as these prior actions are fulfilled the Fund’s board meeting would be convened to consider pending review of the EFF.

Tarin said that three major prior actions are power tariff, withdrawal of exemptions, and agreed autonomy to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), while he did not reveal the remaining two, and stated that they are of less importance.

“We have already fulfilled the power tariff increase for this review and remaining would be due after February 2022.”

Tarin expresses concern over inflation, but confident regarding exchange rate

The adviser stated that he was put in a difficult position by his predecessors by committing to so many things including the SBP autonomy to the IMF for $500million tranche.

He said that he was negotiating in a difficult situation. It would be hard to convince the Fund to agree on less than the approval of the SBP and other laws from the parliament, he said adding however, he would try to get some relief.

To a question that as per SBP deputy governor’s statement during the finance committee that recent depreciation would fuel inflation, Tarin expressed his confidence that the rupee would strengthen as soon as the Fund programme is revised after completion of the sixth review and matters would improve.

About fiscal and monetary policy board and the interest rate, he said that it was the domain of the SBP and he does not interfere in its domain.

Earlier, speaking at the ceremony, he said that that there was considerable growth in philanthropic activity of about 50 percent during the last two decades and the PCP’s contribution have been very encouraging.

The adviser said that this has been supporting the government as it is unable to do everything due to paucity of funds consequent to rise in current expenditure. He added that the current expenditure is more than the tax collection.

He said that the government strategy is to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth and the country would have little more than five percent GDP growth in the ongoing fiscal year.

IMF agreement to be announced this week, says Shaukat Tarin

He said that the government is also following bottom up approach to provide support to the poor as trickle down benefit never reached them.

He said that the government would disburse Rs1.4 trillion in the next four years for the welfare of the low-income group and this is significant.

Tarin said that the government’s approach is to ensure sustainable growth through enhanced spending on agriculture, industry, Public Sector Development Programme, and Ehsaas.

He further stated that with the inclusion of provinces ration cards, the total Ehsaas spending would be over Rs350 billion.

The adviser on finance said that this government is doing what should have been done very long time ago to support the low-income group.

He said that he would also be creating a focal point to help the people, of course, under Kamyab Pakistan Programme, for disbursement of interest-free loans, training to the youth, and loans for the agriculture sector.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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