ISLAMABAD    -    Pakistan hopes to satisfy International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the first review under extended fund facility (EFF) that would be discussed later this month.

“IMF mission for the first review is expected to reach Islamabad in the last week of the ongoing month,” said an official of the ministry of finance. He hoped that government had achieved major targets set by IMF under EFF during first quarter (July to September) of the current fiscal year. He said that government would convince the Fund on the tax collection despite Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had faced massive shortfall of Rs111 billion in first quarter.

“Currently, there is a team of IMF experts in Islamabad for discussing Pakistan’s tax system,’ he added. The official informed that government had improved the economic situation in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. He said that the government had successfully controlled the twin deficits including trade and budget and increases the tax collection. “The Finance ministry is fully committed along with the IMF towards the ongoing reforms program. The reforms program has 7 performance criteria, 5 indicative targets and 13 structural benchmarks and the progress on all of them is very encouraging”, said ministry of finance.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh last week had said that the difficult decisions taken by the government have started bearing positive results as it has successfully controlled the soaring budget and trade deficits during first quarter of current fiscal year. He said that trade deficit has narrowed by over 34 percent to $5.7 billion in first quarter (July to September) of the current fiscal year from $9 billion in same period of last year. He informed that government has also controlled the budget deficit of the country at Rs476 billion in first quarter of the year 2019-2020, which was Rs738 billion in corresponding period of previous financial year. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest report has projected an increase in inflation rate for Pakistan from 7.3 percent in 2019 to 13 percent in 2020. The IMF has also revised downward the GDP growth rate from 3.3 percent in 2019 to 2.4 percent in 2020.