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Govt needs $9 billion to run Pakistan: Asad Umar

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar on Friday told the Senate that the government needs $9 billion to run Pakistan.

He said Pakistan, as per the budget, need $9 billion to run the country.”We are trying to address the root cause that compels us to borrow these $9bn. Off course, we know any policy will take time to yield results,” he added.

The minister said that the loan will be taken after taking the Parliament on board. He said a plan to this effect will be finalized in next one or two weeks and then it will be presented before the Parliament for discussion.

The minister added that the decision to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for loans will be taken after consultations and taking the parliament into confidence.

He also told the house during question hour that the new FBR chairman has been appointed and next week a meeting will be held with the FBR officials to discuss implementation of the reforms strategy. He said currently one million people are filling their tax returns and there is a room to further enhance the figure to about three million.

The Finance Minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan will chair a high level meeting on Monday to discuss issues relating to currency smuggling and money service providers.  He said we have to take definite actions before the next meeting of FATF.

Asad Umar said the government has decided in principle to launch Diaspora and Sukuk bonds. He said some other initiatives will also be taken to improve the flow of remittances to the country.

He pointed out that exports saw decline and imports surged over the last five years, and the government had to obtain loans to fill the gaps. He said our effort is to address the root causes of the loans.

While responding to a calling attention notice, Asad Umar expressed the confidence and said Pakistan will come out of the FATF grey list by meeting its obligations.

He said that Pakistan has 15 months to overcome its deficiencies relating to currency smuggling, hawala/hundi and terror financing.  He told the House that a national executive committee has been established under the chairmanship of the Finance Minister to address these issues. He said that addressing these deficiencies is also in the greater interest of the country. He, however, said that Pakistan has serious reservations on its placement on the grey list.

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