Dar confident of bidding adieu to IMF, bringing back money from Swiss banks

ISLAMABAD, July 26 (APP): Minister for Finance, Revenue, Statistics and Economic Affairs on Tuesday resolved to bid adieu to International Monetary Fund (IMF) and do not extend its programme for Pakistan on the completion of 12th review starting from Wednesday.

“We appreciate their support for Pakistan with the hopes
that we need no further revision of their program after the 12th review,” he said in a private news channel interview.

“I am confident that we shall need no further support from the  IMF. We do not have any such plan.”

He said at present the foreign exchange reserves in Pakistan
were touching the highest figure of US$ 23 billion. “When we came  into power this figure stood at just US$ 6 billion and we had to  pay US$ 2.8 billion by next February.”

The minister said at that time Pakistan needed this programme because the projected reserves were quite insufficient to pay back previous loans. As far as the IMF programme was concerned, out of that US$ 4.5 billion had been paid back.

“A grave economic situation in 2013, forced us to approach
the IMF. But, now we have moved far ahead and will hopefully bid  them farewell by the end of September on conclusion of their review.”

He said it was for the first time in the country’s history that
12 reviews of IMF were going to be completed contrary to the past when in the Musharraf regime even the weaker programme for poverty  reduction could not be completed successfully.

The minister also hoped to reach an understanding with the
Swiss Government to get information about Pakistanis money in their banks under the multi-lateral agreement.

The Swiss authorities, he said, had done away with their four conditions provided to Pakistan in 2014. “Now, they have agreed to exchange the  information. Initials have been fixed on the proposed draft while final signatures would be put on the paper once they complete their internal codal formalities for the purpose.”

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“Earlier, we could get very restricted information from the Swiss authorities but after the 100 countries multi-lateral agreement, the situation will be different,” he added.

Answering a question about the NFC Award, the minister said
under the previous award the provinces were getting an overall 63% share from the federal resources. “This is sufficient amount and  if new award is not announced this can continue and the President  has already allowed it.”

He said the PML-N government soon after coming into power had moved a summary to constitute the Commission and the share of provinces was enhanced to 57.5% and if the war on terror and other funds were included in it, it made cumulative 63%. Dar condemned attack on army Jawans in Karachi and hoped that the new Sindh Chief Minister would sign the summary to extend Rangers’ mandate within hours.

Their reservations must also be  addressed but this was a fact that the Karachi operation had normalized law and order situation and paved way for economic  growth.

On selection of the Election Commission members, he said
12 names were sent o the Parliamentary Committee among whom there  was consensus on four ones. “I held 10 meetings with Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah on behalf of the Prime Minister and after each meetings both the sides took  their allies into confidence. We tried utmost to bring forward  non-controversial names.”

Ishaq Dar said dozens of names were discussed and anybody who was found any way affiliated to any side, his name was dropped. “Even the PTI was also on board and endorsed members as  neat and clean.”

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He expressed the hope to resolve the Panama Papers Terms of Reference (ToR) issue in consultation with the opposition parties.

“After the last meeting the opposition parties at their own
announced at media not to meet again. But, I shall keep trying to resolve this issue. At least we can bring a new law to make the 1956 Act more effective,” he said.

He also proposed to get both sides’ ToRs analyzed through
neutral experts to know as to whose ones were more generic. “Taking to streets and announcing to resign from the Parliament makes no sense. It is a system, it is not a mockery. When the economy is taking strides why to one again disrupt this growth.”

He said series of documents were exchanged between the
government and the opposition side. “We even had agreed to change the 1956 Act to give it teeth, but the opposition was rigid to one person specific ToRs. We had made generic ToRs.”

The minister said right from the Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission down to Abbottabad Commission, all commissions were formed under this law but when the Supreme Court observed that the law was toothless, “we agreed to change it to make it more effective law.”

He said the joint sitting of the Parliament in its recent
session had passed seven laws, including two treasury and five private member bills. “As far as the anti-honor and anti-rape bills are concerned, two parties had some reservations that have been resolved at the committee.

We shall be summoning joint session within first 15 days of next month and discuss these bills.”