‘Talks with IMF have not failed,’ Tarin rejects media reports | The Express Tribune


Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin has said the talks between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistan for the resumption of $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) have not failed.

Tarin made these remarks in conversation with reporters after addressing the Pakistani community at the New York consulate general on Sunday evening.

“The government was working hard for an inclusive and sustainable economic growth that benefits all segments of the society, especially the poor,” the adviser said, adding that the reports regarding the failure of talks were “completely wrong”.

“I don’t know what’s the basis on which an impression has been given by some that the talks have failed— they are totally wrong,” he claimed.

According to Tarin, “At this stage, final details were being worked out and the negotiations would, inshaAllah, conclude successfully.”

Tarin said the finance secretary was still in Washington pursuing the talks with the relevant IMF officials, and that he was in contact with the FBR chairman as well as with him for any advice.

“There was an atmosphere of positivity and the next few days would show a productive outcome from the talks,” Tarin added.

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In this regard, the adviser said his meeting with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and other fund officials was “useful and positive”. “The nation shouldn’t be disillusioned by some unfounded negative reports,” the finance minister added.

Asked whether the IMF was demanding that Pakistan do more, Tarin said that every banker would put similar demands when someone applies for a loan.

Tarin said Pakistan had its red lines to protect its interests, although it has been made clear to the IMF that the government would pursue the reform process for sustainable growth.

Earlier, speaking to community members, Tarin and State Bank Governor Dr Reza Baqir, who accompanied him to the US, urged them to invest in the Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA) under which they can directly invest into the shares of companies in Pakistan and units of funds.

In his remarks to the community members, Tarin highlighted the economic priorities of the government, saying that Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken “bold decisions that have resulted in stabilising the economy”.

He claimed that forward-looking fiscal reforms had helped to improve the tax-to-GDP ratio, bring down the current account deficit and fiscal deficit while improving revenue generation.

“Increasing tax collection and broadening the tax base were key targets of the government’s fiscal agenda,” he added.

Tarin thanked the overseas Pakistanis for their role in sustaining the economy through high levels of remittances.

Tarin also shared steps taken to help the underprivileged through the Kamyab Pakistan programme, which he said would help them achieve self-sufficiency and realise PM Imran Khan’s vision of a prosperous Pakistan.

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It may be noted here that the Finance Division had issued a similar statement regarding the IMF talks on Sunday. It had also rejected the media reports, saying that the talks with the Fund officials were underway in Washington amid a positive atmosphere.

According to the statement, technical teams of both sides were continuing detailed discussions in virtual format after an exchange of relevant data sets.

The Finance Division claimed that no time frame was set at any stage for the conclusion of talks.

IMF talks ‘fail’

Earlier on Sunday, it was reported that Pakistan and IMF had again failed to reach a staff-level agreement at the scheduled time because of differences over the macroeconomic framework and deepening uncertainty over the future roadmap of the economy.

The fresh round of talks from October 4 to 15 for the release of the $1 billion loan tranche and receiving a good economic health certificate remained inconclusive.

The talks failed despite Pakistan having implemented a prior condition of increasing electricity and petroleum products prices. However, both sides have shown resolve to remain engaged.

“The IMF team remains engaged with our Pakistani counterparts on moving forward our work agenda and we are looking forward to our continued discussions with the Pakistani authorities on the set of policies and reforms that could form the basis for the completion of the 6th review under the EFF [Extended Fund Facility],” Teresa Dabán Sanchez, the outgoing resident representative of the IMF told The Express Tribune.

It was for the second time that Pakistan and the IMF could not find a “basis for the completion of the 6th review”, as its first attempt made in June also remained futile.

Pakistan and the IMF have so far failed to agree on the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP) — which becomes the base for the bailout programme. Sources told The Express Tribune that both sides have not yet exchanged the final macroeconomic positions — a job that should have been completed on October 8.

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