ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin cleared on Wednesday that the government doesn’t intend to ditch the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Programme.
Addressing the first press conference since being appointed as the finance minister, he said: “The government will get around the IMF so that it gets some space given the current situation of COVID-19.”
“We have already held some talks with the IMF and the World Bank,” he revealed, adding the government will present an alternative plan to the Fund. The government is ready to hold talks with the opposition on economy, he said.
“Our common man is facing hardships due to inflation. Hiking electricity rates has a direct impact on inflation,” Tarin said. “Increasing power rates is not the only answer to growth in revenue.”
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan is also not in favour of increasing powers rates, stressing the need for cutting down on circular debt.
Shaukat Tarin said revenue collection grew by 57 per cent in April. “In March, revenue collection rose 46pc as compared to last year’s corresponding period. Revenues were projected to grow by 92pc in April as compared to last year but registered 57 growth due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
He said the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has done some good work to enhance revenue collection. However, he added, more programmes will be announced in the next budget to eliminate harassment and to encourage people to pay taxes.
The minister said it is our target to further expand the tax base. He said the country’s exports are not growing due to multiple factors. “We also want to bring Foreign Direct Investment in the export oriented industries to bolster our exports,” he avowed.
He said there is a great potential of growth in the IT. IT exports will come in at $2 billion this year but can be enhanced to $8 billion in the next two to three years, he added.
The minister maintained that China made huge investment in Pakistan under CPEC. The government wants the neighbouring country to set up industries in economic zones, he said, adding CPEC could help boost industrial growth and job creation.
He said the coronavirus took a heavy toll on the national economy, hoping that it would be back on track once the third wave is contained.