Pakistan criticizes World Bank for overestimating repayment obligations

Islamabad: Pakistan criticized the World Bank for overestimating its external repayment obligations by $13b, which actually stands at $18b, the Finance Ministry said on Sunday.

A WB report released last week estimated the country’s external repayment obligations stood at $31b, raising worries that Pakistan may not have enough resources for paying them back.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar held a meeting on Sunday regarding the aforementioned issue and request for rectification of error has been forwarded to World Bank for further deliberation, said the finance ministry.

First quarter performance of the economy came under review including remittances, revenue collection and exports. It was stressed during the meeting that external flows will be sufficient enough to meet repayment obligations.

According to Finance Ministry, WB had wrongly included portfolio investment of amount Rs13.8b as part of repayment obligations, which overstated the external repayment obligations. International reporting standards don’t permit portfolio investment to be included when calculating gross financing needs of a country.

The report is said to have “misrepresented” what the definition of gross financing needs of a country are. Pakistan’s real figure of gross financing need for FY 2017-18 is $18b and not $31b.

The meeting participants were informed remittances and exports rose along with a slow-down in imports was witnessed for first two months of FY 2017-18. Dar instructed the finance ministry to work closely with WB for the correct reporting of economic data.

Also, efforts to maintain strong performance of the first quarter in FY 2017-18 into the second and beyond were also appreciated.

Updates were provided on progress in taxpayer’s outreach programme initiated by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for widening the tax base and workshops being conducted on e-filing of returns for members of tax bars, chambers of commerce and professional bodies.

The meeting also discussed about progress in taxpayer’s outreach programme launched by the Federal Board of Revenue for broadening of tax base, including workshops on e-filing of returns for members of tax bars, professional bodies and chambers of commerce and industry.


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