Karachi  -   Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said yesterday that federal government had no other option but to take difficult decisions as the country’s economy was facing daunting challenges when it came into power.

Addressing a presser here at the Governor House after meeting with a delegation of traders, Shaikh said when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government came into power, foreign reserves were at lower side and trade deficit was on the higher side. The inflation was going up considerably. The tough situation forced us to take difficult decisions including contacting IMF for bailout package,” he added.

Apprising about the measures being taken by the federal government to overcome the issue, Shaikh said all-out efforts were being adopted for the betterment. “Considerable improvement was witnessed in the foreign reserves as well as trade deficit went down. The government had introduced Ehsaas Programme keeping in mind the need of low income people.

The finance adviser, who was flanked by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Chairman Federal Board of Revenue Syed Shabbar Zaidi, said two to three billion dollars were expected to be received from IMF and other resources. Speaking on the amnesty scheme, the adviser said that those who had unnamed assets could get benefit from the scheme by declaring the same. This scheme would prove beneficial for the country’s economy.

He said the electricity tariff would be increased owing to IMF deal but added that the people who consume less than 300 units a month would not be affected. Talking about the next year’s fiscal budget, Shaikh said that schemes for basic necessities of people would be their priority, adding that they would refrain from allocating funds for unnecessary things.

The adviser said government would try to ensure that the common man does not hit by the foreign loans. “We will also try to achieve our target of tax collection,” he vowed. Shaikh said it was State Bank of Pakistan’s responsibility to maintain foreign reserves.

“The PTI-led federal government has made good governance so far and everybody knows that we want to deliver for the masses,” the adviser. Praising newly-appointed State Bank of Pakistan Governor Raza Baqir and the Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi, Shaikh said they both had expertise in their respective fields. “Baqir is an internationally recognised economic expert whereas Zaidi has expertise in tax collection and he has been made fully authorised by the government,” the adviser concluded.

Speaking on the occasion, Zaidi said the amnesty scheme was fully supported by the business community and they had termed it in the interest of the country’s economy.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said the federal government wanted to address issues of trade community, adding that Sindh Industrials Liaison Committee had been formed in this regard.