IMF, Pakistan Govt evolve consensus for bailout package :Asad Umar

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PESHAWAR, Feb 11 (APP):Federal Minister for Finance, Asad Umar on Monday said that the meeting between Prime Minister, Imran Khan with Managing Director International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde at Dubai was highly successful, with the IMF’s assurance of optimum
support for macro-economic stability of Pakistan.Speaking to businessmen during his visit to Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), he said there had been convergence of views during the meeting between the Paksitan government and IMF for the financial package and assured
that the nation would be take into confidence, once the accord was finalized.

Asad Umer expressed the optimism that this loan package would be the last with the international monetary body. The IMF Managing Director has expressed full support to Pakistan for the revival of its economy, he added.

He specifically clarified that meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and MD IMF on the sidelines of World Government Summit was not held to carry out negotiations on the bailout package.

Replying to a question, Asad Umer also made it clear that the PM’s meeting with Saad Hariri in Dubai was not aimed at holding discussion to give NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) to anyone and categorically said that no deal or relaxation would be extended to corrupt element in the country.Earlier, President SCCI, Faiz Ahmad Faizi and prominent businessmen of KP including former President FPCCI, Ghazanfar Bilour, Ex-president SCCI, Raiz Arshad, Haji Muhmmad Afzal, Zahid Shinwari, Zarak Khan, Malik Niaz and others spoke on the occasion and highlighted different issues being faced by business community of the province.
Replying to these specific points, the Federal Minister said government was committed to providing level-playing field to business community and it was up to them to compete internationally since they provide jobs and generate taxes.

He siad Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had rich potential in fields including hydel power generation, mineral resources, gas deposits and tourism. If these potentials were properly tapped, the country, especially KP, will get enormous economic boost, he added.

Only through tourism, Pakistan can earn billions of dollars and Prime Minister was giving special attention to development and promotion of this sector, he said.

Asad Umer said during recent meeting with Malaysian and Turkish authorities it was revealed that the former country had an annual earning of dollar 22 billion while the latter was earning dollar 44 billion from this sector.
“The income of Pakistan through tourism is very nominal despite the fact
that we have numerous scenic spots and resorts in Khyber Pakhtunkwha and Gilgit Baltistan,” he added.

About the regional trade, the Federal Finance Minister said government wanted to enhance trade with neighbouring countries.
He said “We have some issues with India due to Kashmir dispute, but trade volume with Iran and Afghanistan can be increased upto optimal level.”

He also disclosed that during a recent meeting in Turkey a Strategic Economic Framework had been established through which both Pakistan and Turkey will support each other in expanding trade in Europe, China, Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics.
He said Turkey will provide platform to Pakistan for exporting its products into Europe while the latter will help Turkey in exploring new avenues in Eastern countries.

He said Peshawar has got a natural trade position and has served in past
as gateway to Central Asian Republics and this potential needed development and revival on sound footings.
Peace in Afghanistan was must for progress and economic development
and for this purpose, the government was ready to play any role, he added.

He said no country can make progress without the expansion of taxation
system and government would ensure ‘ease of doing business’ in the country.

He also announced that taxation system would be simplified so that ordinary traders could easily submit their details and display the form on their shops and premises.

About payment of rebate on export, the Finance Minister held out the
assurance for initiating payment on early basis.The Prime Minister would be requested to be chief guest at the upcoming Businessmen Excellency Award of SCCI. He said Peshawar was the stronghold of PTI and the PM has great affection with this city and its dwellers.

About provision of new gas connections under the category of RLNG
(Re-Gasified Liquefied Natural Gas) in KP at high rates, Finance Minister
also expressed astonishment to this fact.

He said Article 58 of the Constitution was fully clear which envisaged
utilization of additional resources, produced by any province by its own.
Since KP was producing extra gas from its needs and therefore new
connections should not be given under the category of RLNG to industry
in the province, he added.

He rejected the impression that summary for approval of international
payment through Paypal was being delayed.

Asad Umar said he has personally communicated to CEO of
Paypal for providing this facility to people in Pakistan for payment on
international dealings.

He also apprised participants of the meeting that Alibaba,
international e-business company, has purchased maximum share
of Telenor Bank (Tameer) and has held out assurance of introducing
a quick workable system for international payments by Pakistanis.

To a question about progress of inquiry on high gas bills, Asad
Umar said Prime Minister had given ten days for external audit of
gas companies and as the reports was prepared, action would be
taken.

He also apprised businessmen that government has decided to
reduce the ratio of GIDC (Gas Infrastructure Development Cess) and
its implementation will be made after getting approval from parliament.
He said government was also giving consideration to reviving
cotton export of the country and for this purpose has decided to
invite experts in the upcoming meeting of Economic Coordination
Council (ECC).