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IMF to review its loan programme in July 3’s board meeting: Hafeez Shaikh

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that the federal budget for the fiscal year of 2019-20 was presented after consulting all stakeholders, ARY News reported on Saturday.

“We had spent hundreds of hours for holding consultations for making budgetary decisions and it was made in accordance with recommendations by all sectors,” Shaikh said while addressing a budget seminar.

“It is a bitter fact that not a single finance minister managed to complete his five-year term. For now, Pakistan needs a long-term economic plan for maintaining its consistency in term of development and growth.”

Read: Good economic policies ensure strong national economy: Hafeez Shaikh

The finance adviser insisted for significant increase in exports to foreign countries. He admitted that the economic team of the government had taken difficult decisions which were inevitable in current economic situation.

Shaikh said that IMF will review its loan programme in its next board’s session which would be organised on July 3.

Shaikh complained for inconsistency in financial growth rate which has never crossed the period of four years in the country.

He clarified, “The base of prosperity lies on exports. Neither in democracy nor in military rulership, exportations had not seen any growth at all.’

Read: Only 12pc population of country is paying tax: Hafeez Shaikh

“When the present government took charge, it witnessed a whopping Rs31,000 billion loans, whereas, the volume of foreign debts was $97 billion. Trade deficit stood at $32 billion and $20 billion of current account deficit. Rs2000 billion was being spent under interest while the overall financial deficit reached to Rs2300 billion.”

The finance adviser expressed hopes that the country would soon get $6 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He claimed that the interest rate was quite lesser than other markets which Pakistan has acquired from IMF.

Criticising the opponents over levelling different allegations on the present government, Shaikh advised nationals not to pay attention to negative propaganda against IMF.

Read More: Fiscal budget for the year 2019-20 announced

“How can the government pay Rs2009 billion worth interest against hefty loans?”

“Those having problems with the IMF programme should give us an alternative plan to revive the national economy. Politics should not be made on IMF loan programme as difficult decisions will have to be taken if the country is facing severe economic crisis,” he added.

Shaikh praised decision of the Pakistani armed forces for not taking an increase share in the budget. He said, “We deeply appreciates the decision of the military leadership. The defence budget was frozen as per an austerity move.”

Read: Hafeez Shaikh directs to issue sales tax refund bonds to claimants

He underscored need of achieving the challenging tax targets for economic revival. The adviser said that the Centre will get Rs2400 billion after NFC [National Finance Commission Award], whereas, the government would pay off Rs2900 billion loans after the recovery of Rs3600 billion from tax and non-tax income. “The remaining Rs700 billion is not enough to run the federation,” he added.

He clarified that the subsidy on power usage is only for poor people but not for those warming up their swimming polls through using electricity.

Earlier, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led coalition government presented its first federal budget for the fiscal year 2019-2020 in the National Assembly of Pakistan on June 11.

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