Pakistan to Enter New IMF Programme, Says PM Shehbaz

In a recent address at the Tax Excellence Awards in Islamabad, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced the government’s intention to pursue another programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the country reaches a staff level agreement with the final instalment to be received next month.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the limitations of the IMF programme but emphasized its necessity for ensuring economic stability. “We have to do another IMF programme. It won’t work out without one. Rome was not built overnight,” he said, highlighting the need for patience and persistence in the face of economic challenges.

The government’s focus is not only on stability but also on growth. The Prime Minister reiterated the importance of job creation and addressing inflation. This comes as Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb also stated that Pakistan will discuss an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the IMF in Washington next month, as the country looks to alleviate a full-scale economic crisis.

Pakistan’s current $3 billion arrangement with the IMF is set to expire on April 11, and the two sides have reached a staff-level agreement regarding the disbursal of the final tranche of $1.1 billion. This new programme is expected to continue for three years.

In addition to the IMF programme, the government is also focusing on tax reforms. The Prime Minister stated that it is the government’s priority to provide a better environment for taxpayers and that it is currently restructuring and planning to digitise the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). He praised good tax collectors as “heroes” who will be given awards and medals.

The Prime Minister also acknowledged the “mountain of debt” in the country and emphasized that it is not the government’s job to do business, but to create an enabling environment for it. He stressed the need for the private sector and the government to work together to ensure a smooth economy in the country.

PM Shehbaz Sharif stressed that the voice of a nation is heard around the world if its economy is “strong”, as "no one listens to the voice of the weak". He urged for expedited decision-making processes and the elimination of red tape, as it causes immense hindrances. With these measures, the government hopes to steer Pakistan towards a stable and prosperous economic future.

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