On Wednesday, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said unequivocally that the government has no plans to abandon the IMF Program.
“The government will get around the IMF so that it gets some room provided the current situation of COVID-19,” he said at his first press conference after being named as finance minister.
“We have already had some discussions with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank,” he said, adding that the government would present the Fund with an alternative strategy. He stated that the government is willing to hold economic talks with the opposition.
“Inflation is causing misery for our lower classes. Electricity rate hikes have a strong effect on inflation,” according to Tarin. “Increasing electricity prices isn’t the only way to boost revenue.”
He added that Prime Minister Imran Khan is also opposed to increasing power prices, emphasizing the importance of reducing circular debt.
In April, revenue generation increased by 57%, according to Shaukat Tarin. “Revenue collection increased 46 percent in March compared to the same month last year. In April, revenues were expected to increase by 92 percent over the previous year, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they increased by 57 percent.”
He said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has improved revenue collection. More programmes to reduce harassment and persuade people to pay taxes will be announced in the next budget, he said.
Our aim, according to the minister, is to broaden the tax base even further. He claims that the country’s exports are stagnating due to a variety of factors. “We also want to attract Foreign Direct Investment in export-oriented industries to help us boost our exports,” he said.
He believes that the IT industry has a lot of room for growth. IT exports will be $2 billion this year, but he believes they will grow to $8 billion in the next two to three years.
According to the minister, China has made significant investments in Pakistan as part of the CPEC. He said the government wants to see factories set up in economic zones by the neighbouring country, and that CPEC might help boost industrial development and job creation.
He acknowledged that the coronavirus had taken a toll on the country’s economy, but expressed hope that it would be back on track once the third wave was contained.