Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday instructed the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) to avoid putting additional taxes on people.
The council held its meeting with the Prime Minister presiding over but did not take discuss whether there the IMF deal needs to be renegotiated or not.
As per media reports prior to the meeting, it was expected that the body will discuss the issue of “harsh” IMF conditions as the newly-appointed Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has been pretty vocal against it.
The premier commanded that instead of taking the trodden path of imposing hefty taxes upon the masses, the EAC should go for out-of-the-box solutions for giving relief to the common man.
Under the IMF deal, the government has committed to slapping additional income and sales taxes of up to Rs570 billion, 1.2% of GDP, in the new budget.
It remains to be seen if the EAC members can find a route in these commitments as the forum, so far, hasn’t been taken into confidence on the program.
As per media reports, PM Khan advised the EAC members to layout recommendations within the domain of the IMF framework.
The prime minister directed the EAC to come up with a short, medium, and long-term economic roadmap in the domains of construction, energy, tourism, social sector subsidies, agriculture, foreign remittances, price stability, small and medium enterprises, and public-private partnership.
The council decided to meet again before the Eid holidays. The participants agreed to do detailed homework to ascertain whether there was any need for renegotiation of the IMF deal.
This council was reconstituted this month by the premier to aid his economic team in making the economic policies. It is pertinent to mention that a similar body, with the name of Policy Think Tank, had been established a year ago.
Four of the EAC members – Shaukat Tarin, Dr. Ijaz Nabi, Sultan Alana, and Arif Habib – were members of the think tank.