The newly-made Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Fayaz Tarin said the IMF agreement has subjected Pakistan to very harsh conditions under the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program.
He was addressing his maiden briefing to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance, Shaukat Tarin made it clear that the government will re-negotiate the IMF’s demand for rising power tariffs and expanding tax revenues.
Tarin said that since 2019, the era of economic ‘consolidation’ was underway that was resulting in difficulties on the economic front. He said that due to the lack of GDP growth, non-tax revenue, unemployment, and various other problems had crept up on the economic front. He also said that he was vocal for the supremacy of the Parliament.
As per Tarin, efforts were underway to ask the IMF to show some leniency towards Pakistan in the wake of the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic.
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“We will have to stand up and speak to the IMF as their demands for increasing power tariffs has resulted in surging inflationary pressures that causes corruption. He said the reduction of circular debt cannot be possible is power tariffs are hiked and some alternate plan needs to be brought in to solve this problem.
“Instead of raising tax rates, we will move towards widening the tax base,” the minister said. The minister was of the opinion that he will look forward to privatizing those state-owned enterprises that were a burden on the public sector. He said that the government is looking to increase spending on development projects via the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). He iterated that the federal government would provide equal growth opportunities for all provinces. He said the phase of consolidating the economy was underway since 2019, but if the wheels of the economy get clogged, there would be no job creation or revenue.