Poised to get better IMF package: Asad2 min read

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Finance Minister Asad Umar. PHOTO: PTI
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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umar said on Wednesday that Pakistan now is in a position to get better bailout package from International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Any IMF condition against the national interest would not be acceptable, he said while talking in Geo News programme ‘Capital Talk’ of Hamid Mir. He said that the government intended to get $5 billion or $6 billion from the Fund.

He expressed hope that this would be the last programme of IMF for the country. He said during the visit, talks were held with China about transfer of leading technology of cyber security. He said that he decreased the figures mentioned in the discussion with Chinese President Xi Jinping and later increased the same after Xi-Imran meeting.

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In past, the governments took unlimited loans and the price is being paid now. He said that one third of population does not use electricity. He said that the rupee was devalued to increase the exports and decrease the imports. He said that burden of inflation is only 4 percent on the poor people.

Minister for Finance Asad Umar said concrete measures would be taken to increase exports to further strengthen the national economy. During the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China, the Chinese president had assured of help enhancing Pakistan’s exports

He said the previous government had taken massive loans from international organisations and that’s why the country was confronting economic challenges. “Loans are indispensable but the governments should try to take less loans,” he added.

Also Read: Social cost of the IMF programme

Asad Umar said a huge amount of the loan, instead of being utilised for the welfare of masses, was going directly to pay the loan’s interest, adding Rs1,900 billion would be paid in shape of loan interest this year.

He said the government had approved to import 50,000 ton urea fertilizer this year for Rabi crop. The minister said the government would not privatise PIA and Steel Mills, but would make them profitable organisations.

Task had been given to Minister for Trade Razaq Dawood for formulating the policy to run the Steel Mills in 45 days, he added. He said no compromise would be made on national security and decisions would be taken for the betterment of the nation and larger interest of the country.

Replying to a question, Asad said he met Alice Wells, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs and discussed with her matters of economy and IMF programme.

He said there should be crackdown money laundering and legislation would be made for this purpose. The minister said the government had only imposed tax on luxurious items in budget, without putting burden on poor people. Asad Umar said inflation is still in single digit and the inflation ratio is four percent on 20 percent of the poor people in the country.

(This news/article originally appeared in The News on November 8th, 2018)

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