Immediate Talks with IMF

Islamabad, Pakistan: Newly inaugurated Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif wasted no time in addressing Pakistan’s pressing economic concerns. Following his Monday swearing-in ceremony, PM Sharif held a critical meeting focused on national economic rehabilitation to prioritizes immediate talks with IMF.

Read Also: Prospects of an $8-10 Billion IMF Loan Program Discussed by Ministry of Finance

Key Takeaways:

  • Immediate Talks with IMF: The Prime Minister directed the initiation of talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to explore a larger and extended bailout program through the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
  • Emergency Action Plan: A comprehensive action plan is being formulated to address and streamline the overall economic situation.
  • Focus on Boosting the Economy: The government declared economic revival as their top priority.
  • Potential Finance Minister: Discussions included the possibility of Mohammad Aurangzeb’s appointment as special assistant to the PM, acknowledging the legal hurdle of his current non-Pakistani citizenship.
  • Securing Larger IMF Deal: Negotiations for a new three-year EFF program are crucial, as the current $3 billion Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) concludes on April 12, 2024.
  • FBR Tax Refunds Cleared: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) promptly cleared Rs. 65 billion in tax refunds as per the Prime Minister’s directives.
  • Transparency and Efficiency Measures: PM Sharif emphasized the importance of taxpayer contributions and vowed to support initiatives enhancing exports and value addition. He also advocated for FBR and other institutions’ automation for increased transparency and the privatization of loss-making state-owned enterprises.
  • Committee for Reduced State Privileges: A committee will strategize reducing privileges for state-owned institution board members.
  • Focus on SMEs and Infrastructure: Initiatives to promote small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and transition power and gas sectors to smart metering were also discussed. The Prime Minister emphasized minimizing government size and streamlining operations.
  • Special Investment Facilitation Council: The meeting highlighted the Special Investment Facilitation Council’s (SIFC) role in economic stability and the government’s commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment for SMEs.
  • Next Meeting: The next meeting will focus on the FBR and introduce specific measures to support businesses, investors, and youth.

This comprehensive approach signifies the new government’s commitment to tackling Pakistan’s economic challenges and fostering sustainable growth.

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