By Muzzammil Aslam
While the Economic Reform Package will take front seat on Jan 23rd, Asad Umer will keep IMF considerations on priority. The recent actions by ECC, today’s news headline by IMF representative on bailout negotiations, and the meeting of US Senator Graham from South Carolina with Imran Khan all drops a hint of IMF program announcement is around the corner. Let’s discuss each hints closely:
1- Jan 15th ECC meeting
Apart from conventional prescription of rate hike and exchange devaluation. IMF insisted on crackdown on money laundering, tax evasion and terror financing. The PTI Government getting tough on money laundering, enforcing AML through SBP & SECP and in its last meeting introduced amendments in Import & Exports procedure of used imported car are highlighting Government seriousness to reduce black economy. Even in the upcoming budget, the Finance Minister has labelled it as “Economic Reform Pacakage” aim to reform taxes, encourage to harmonise Saving & Investment. Hence improving productivity growth and discourage consumption.
2- IMF Communication Director Gerry Rice disclosed that the talks are still underway with Pakistani Authorities
In news report published in today’s Business Recorder, quoting Gerry Rice, that IMF staff is still in discussion with Pakistani Authorities on Policy priorities for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Asad Umer in his last media talks also mentioned the same that talks are going on with IMF. As soon as IMF decides to ease its conditionality’s we will enter into IMF program, mentioned Asad Umer.
3- US South Carolina Senator visits to Pakistan
Graham South Carolina based Senator is current on a Pakistan visit and met Prime Minister Imran Khan. He gave very positive input regarding his meeting with Imran Khan. He expressed “With Prime Minister Khan we have a unique opportunity to change our relationship,” he said. A previously transactional relationship, based on rewards for services rendered, should be replaced by “strategic engagement”, including a free trade agreement.
Hopefully, better ties with US will fetch us convenient IMF program.
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