Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to undertake the reforms envisioned under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme as talks on IMF’s seventh review for Extended Fund Facility (EFF) kicked off in Doha.
Ismail held a virtual meeting with IMF Mission Chief Nathan Porter on Wednesday, according to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Finance.
The first batch of the delegation from Pakistan included Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghous Pasha, Secretary Finance Hamed Yaqoob, State Bank of Pakistan Governor Murtaza Syed and Federal Board of Revenue Chairperson Asim Ahmad.
The finance minister and minister of state will join the team in Doha early next week to conclude the discussion with the expectation to clinch an agreement for IMF’s continued support until the successful completion of the program.
“The government understands the current economic woes and agreed that it would have to take tough decisions while mitigating the effects of inflation on middle to low-income groups,” Ismail was quoted in the press statement.
He said a few factors have adversely affected the economic situation and they were beyond the government’s control. These included supply shocks, commodity supercycle and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“These factors are putting pressure on the current account as well as foreign exchange reserves,” the minister said, adding the government would take measures to reduce the burden on the economy while protecting the vulnerable sections of the population.
Ismail further said the country should address structural issues so that Pakistan would be able to end the fiscal deficit and move towards sustainable growth.
He thanked the IMF mission chief for the programme’s support at a difficult time. Both sides showed keen interest to complete the review successfully.
IMF’s mission chief shared a fund assessment related to the challenges the country was facing. He noted that Pakistan’s economy needed immediate as well as long-term measures.
The IMF issued a press release after a meeting with the federal minister in April, stating the talks were “very productive”, especially for “Pakistan’s economic developments and policies” under the EFF programme.
“We agreed that prompt action is needed to reverse the unfunded subsidies which have slowed discussions for the 7th review,” it read.