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Pakistan on track to secure new loan from IMF: Finance Minister

Muhammad Aurangzeb says the IMF has been very receptive in terms of agreeing to consider a larger and longer programme.

Published by Hussnain Bhutta



Washington: Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb said on Monday that Pakistan is on track to secure a new loan from IMF.

In an interview with English Language newspaper The National, he said the IMF has been very receptive in terms of agreeing to consider a larger and longer programme.

The Finance Minister said Pakistan would need at least three years of support to carry out a reform agenda across several sectors including taxation and energy.

Muhammad Aurangzeb said macroeconomic factors are shifting in Pakistan's favour as it works to boost its lagging economy.

The Finance Minister said Pakistan's currency has stabilized and the inflation is on track to drop to single-digit levels by the end of next year.  





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Pakistan, Iran decide to promote their bilateral relations in diverse fields

The understanding comes at the delegation level led talks between the two countries in Islamabad on Monday (today).

Published by Hussnain Bhutta



Islamabad: Pakistan and Iran on Monday decided to promote their bilateral relations in diverse fields including political, economic, trade and culture.

The understanding came at the delegation level talks between the two countries in Islamabad on Monday (today).

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif led the Pakistani delegation while that of Iran by its President Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi.

Later at a press stakeout, the Iranian President said both the countries have decided to enhance their trade volume to ten billion dollars.

The Iranian President also emphasized the need for promotion of trade and business activities in the border areas for the wellbeing of the peoples there.

Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi said both Pakistan and Iran are determined to fight terrorism and other organized crimes.

He expressed the hope that his visit to Pakistan will be a turning point regarding the expansion and promotion of bilateral relations between the great people of Pakistan and Iran.

In his remarks on the occasion, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed Pakistan's firm commitment to further strengthen bilateral relations with Iran.  He said time has come to transform our border areas into the ones of economic progress and prosperity.  

Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan and Iran enjoy historic relations and these are deep rooted in common faith and culture. He was confident that the visit of Iranian President will further strengthen and deepen the bilateral relationship between Pakistan and Iran.

The Prime Minister also commended the Iranian stance on Palestinian issue. He said Pakistan stands by the Palestinian people. He said the Muslim countries need to collectively raise voice from various forums in support of the Palestinian people.

The Prime Minister also expressed his gratitude to the Iranian leadership for raising voice for the oppressed people of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.  He was confident that the day is not far when the Kashmiri people will also get their right to self-determination.

On the occasion, both the leaders inaugurated the Iran Avenue, while President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi also planted a sapling at the premises of the Prime Minister House.


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Academicians appreciate Finance Minister going ahead with tobacco tax reforms

The researchers and the scholars say that there is a great need to implement the recommendations of the IMF regarding tax reforms.

Published by Hussnain Bhutta



Islamabad:  It is encouraging that Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb gave out hope to the masses that the country could get $3 billion package from International Monitory Fund (IMF) considered to be vital for sustenance of falling economy, lauded the academicians on Monday.

Dr. Aftab Madni, dean of the Indus University, however, underlined the need to implement the recommendations of the IMF regarding tax reforms in a true spirit.

 “Pick and choose wouldn’t help the reform process” he said.

He stressed that the IMF has explicitly recommended that there has to be uniformed tax on cigarettes regardless of their national or multinational brand. This alone will generate revenue in billions.

He said cigarette is a non-essential item and the government wouldn’t face any public backlash if it moves ahead as per IMF recommendations.

He said that about 9 percent of Pakistanis are smokers and the volume of second-hand smoking still has to be explored. The cigarettes need to be made expensive in any case. 

It causes disease and deaths that have to be accounted for.

He appreciated Dr. Hassan Shehzad from International Islamic University Islamabad, for being the only researcher whose report has been referred to by the IMF in its recommendations for tax reforms.

He said that the report has clearly established a link between consumption and affordability. 

Dr Shehzad quoted the minister as saying, "The country’s current $3 billion arrangement with the fund runs out in late April and the government is seeking a long-term and bigger loan to help bring permanence to macroeconomic stability as well as an umbrella under which the country can execute much-needed structural reforms."

He added that reports have mentioned that cigarette industry is responsible for a loss of Rs567 billion to the national exchequer in less than a decade.

He said that the finance minister has a profound background in banking and it is normal for a banker to understand the volume of losses a product injurious to human health can cause.

Imposing uniformed tax on tobacco products is too little and too late, he said, but it has to be done. Dr Shehzad is a leading researcher in the country with an impact on policy making.


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