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This IMF bailout package will be Pakistan’s last: Asad Umar

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance, Asad Umar, says the next International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme being pursued by the incumbent government will be Pakistan’s last.

He made this statement during a meeting with stockbrokers at the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi today.

Insisting that the Pakistan’s economy is already on road to recovery, Mr. Umar said he arrived to especially meet the traders to dispel their reservations about the economy and the market.

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“There is tremendous [room for] growth in the stock market,” Umar told the market representatives but agreed that “measures need to be taken in order to improve the market’s [recent performance]”.

About revival of the industries in Punjab, the finance minister said the incumbent government had decrease gas rates for Punjab’s export industry. Umar urged business community to play their effective role to improve export development.

The minister said that tax imposition on real estate sector was essential for the revival of the economy, adding that FBR should come up with the system for “Neat and Clean” valuation of the property.

The government on Oct 8 decided to approach the IMF for bailout package, calling it an ‘economic recovery programme’

“We will work for the betterment of the capital market and improve the overall atmosphere for investment,” the minister vowed, but stressed that the stock market’s fortunes are directly linked with the economy’s health. “If the economy will grow, the market will grow.”

The finance minister defended his policies aimed at curbing imports, saying: “The country was heading rapidly towards bankruptcy. I have to save 210 million Pakistanis.”

According to a statement released by Ministry of Finance on Oct 8, it said the government, after taking into account the current situation and consultation with the leading economists, decided to approach the IMF for stabilisation and an “economic recovery program”.

The statement explains that immediately upon assuming office, the present government had expressed serious concerns on the dire economic situation of the country and had committed to undertake a quick evaluation of all possible options.

“The government inherited 6.6% of fiscal deficit, more than a trillion rupees of unaccounted for losses in the energy sector and an unprecedented and debilitating current account deficit running at $2 billion a month. To correct the underlying imbalances, fiscal and monetary actions needed to be undertaken without delay,” reads the statement.

The government maintained that Pakistan has availed ten IMF programs since 1990s in one shape or the other but the challenge for the current government is to ensure that fundamental economic structural reforms are carried out to ensure that “this spiral of demanding in an IMF program every few years is broken once and for all”.

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