NEW YORK: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has dismissed reports that the 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.
Tarin made these remarks in conversation with reporters after addressing the Pakistani community at the New York consulate general on Sunday evening.
“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.
The finance minister 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, the finance minister 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 meeting with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and other fund officials were also very “useful and positive.”
Asked whether the IMF was demanding that Pakistan do more, Tarin said that every banker would put similar demands when someone applies for a loan.
Tarin said Pakistan had its red lines to protect its interests, although it has been made clear to the IMF that the government would pursue the reform process for sustainable growth.
Earlier, speaking to community members, Tarin and State Bank Governor (SBP) Dr Reza Baqir, who accompanied him to the US, 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.
The event was attended by a large number of Pakistani-Americans, including professionals from the financial sector, IBA Karachi’s Alumni and many other community members from various professional backgrounds.
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 claimed that forward-looking fiscal reforms had helped to improve the tax-to-GDP ratio, bring down the 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.
Tarin thanked the overseas Pakistanis for their role in sustaining the economy through high levels of remittances.
Tarin also shared steps taken to help the underprivileged through the Kamyab Pakistan programme, which he said would help them achieve self-sufficiency and realise PM Imran Khan’s vision of a prosperous Pakistan.
It may be noted here that the Finance Division had issued a similar statement regarding the IMF talks on Sunday. It had also rejected the media reports, saying that the talks with the Fund officials were underway in Washington amid a positive atmosphere.
Later on, the Consulate General, New York hosted a dinner with Pakistani American professionals.
While speaking on the occasion the adviser Finance stated that diaspora is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy. He urged overseas Pakistanis to open RDAs and spoke at length about several products being offered under the initiative.