Pakistan News

Talks with IMF: Finance Adviser to give briefing on talks with IMF this evening

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh will hold a briefing on loan package talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Saturday evening.

 

Energy Minister Omar Ayub, Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar and Adviser for Information Firdaus Ashiq Awan would also present in briefing on the talks with IMF.

 

The government of Pakistan and the IMF have reached to an agreement over several key issues including leaving the value of the rupee to be determined by the market forces, hike in interest rate, withdrawal of tax concessions, increase in tax recoveries, hike in electricity and gas tariffs, according to the sources at the Ministry of Finance.

 

It has also been agreed that the energy sector regulators including, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), would be made autonomous and the government interference to take popular decisions would be at minimised level, sources said.

 

Moreover, the sides also agreed over re-launching of the privatization programme of the state-owned entities and restricting government’s borrowing from the State Bank at a limited level, sources disclosed.

 

Still some issues are unresolved and being discussed by the government officials and the IMF team, sources said.

 

The loan amount from the Fund is expected to be around $8 billion for a three-year duration, while the interest rate will be increased by 200-basis point, as per sources.

 

Earlier, the finance ministry sources said that the particulars of a bailout package between the government of Pakistan and IMF are likely to be announced on Monday.

 

As per details, the Pakistan-IMF talks, which are said to be in the final phase, resumed on Saturday (today) for a second day in Islamabad and would be carried out on Sunday as well, sources added.

 

The two sides had held talks in the federal capital on Friday, after which the Ministry of Finance claimed to have made “good progress” in their discussions. “Consultations will continue over the weekend,” it added.

 

The current account deficit is predicted to remain around $8 billion for the upcoming financial year of 2019-20, whereas subsidies of Rupees 350 billion will be taken back by the government.

 

It may be noted that, the government had submitted its working plan of the fiscal year 2019-20’s budget to the fund.

 

In the upcoming budget the government will likely to announce Rs. 750 billion’s new taxes, the working paper suggests.

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