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Pakistan to finalise IMF deal next month: Miftah Ismail

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  • Miftah Ismail says requested IMF to provide $2 billion additional funds.
  • Country expects around $5 billion from Fund, finance minister says.
  • Households not registered with BISP can message CNIC on 786, he says.

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail assured Saturday the government would reach the staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by next month — June.

Hopes of the IMF programme’s revival rose Thursday after the federal government decided to raise the price of petroleum products by Rs30 as the Fund did not resume the programme due to the subsidies provided on oil and power.

Miftah, addressing a press conference alongside Minister of State for Finance Ayesha Ghous Pasha, said the funds — under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) — would be released after final approval by the IMF board.

The minister said that Pakistan has requested the Fund — which has to provide $3 billion — to extend the program by one year and provide an additional $2 billion.

If the international money lender agrees to provide Pakistan with the additional amount, the country expects around $5 billion from the Fund, the finance minister said.

He said that the IMF programme was important not just because the country gets money from the Fund, but it plays an important role in opening ways for getting additional funds from other multilateral organisations — like World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

The finance minister said once the Fund releases the latest tranche, Pakistan would get money from multilateral organisations, noting that around $8.9 billion were already in pipeline from World Bank.

Minister defends petrol price hike

The minister justified the increase in petrol prices, saying that no doubt it would increase inflation, but if the hike had not been done, it would lead to sky-rocketing inflation as the burden would fall on the government and resultantly, it would devaluation of rupee further.

He said after increasing the prices of petrol, not only rupee was strengthened against the dollar by around 2.5, but the stock market also moved positively.

The minister said the government intended to provide relief to the poor against the inflationary pressure, which was created due to the “incompetency” of the previous government.

He said the government would try its best to provide maximum relief to the poor of the country.

He added that Saudi Arabia has already announced the extension of its $3 billion deposits to Pakistan and hinted that some more support was expected from that country the details of which would be shared in July.

The relief programme’s details

Giving details about the PM’s relief package, the minister said that the ‘Sasta Petrol and Sasta Diesel’ scheme would benefit around one-third population of the country by providing cash to 14 million households (84 million people).

Disbursement of Rs2,000 to each household would start from June, bringing the total relief amount to Rs28 billion in June. He said around 7.3 million recipients were already registered with Benazir Income Support Program (BISP).

He said the BISP participants would be provided immediate relief or Rs2,000, whereas women heads of those households who are not registered should message their CNIC on 786 for registration for the program.

The finance minister shared that households having an income of less than Rs40,000 would be eligible for the relief. He said the relief scheme would be incorporated into the federal budget for the fiscal year 2022-23.

To a question on privatisation, the minister said there was no talk on privatisation with IMF this time.

However, he added, the country needed to privatise certain entities, including Discos and power companies for its own interest to reduce the burden on the national exchequer.

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Fly Jinnah opens a new route internationally.

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Two weekly flights will be the starting frequency of the new route, which will connect the two cities.

According to a representative for Fly Jinnah, the company is pleased to announce the opening of a third international route from Islamabad to Muscat, the capital city of Oman, marking another significant milestone after the successful debut of flights from Islamabad and Lahore to Sharjah.

According to him, this development is in line with our goal of giving our clients more options for reasonably priced, value-driven local and international air travel.

The airline serves five main cities in Pakistan: Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, and Quetta. Its fleet consists of five Airbus A320 aircraft, all of which are contemporary.

In addition to the current flight path to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, this new route expands Fly Jinnah’s network of foreign destinations.

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Tajir Dost app: traders don’t seem interested in registering

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To tax retailers in Pakistan, the Tajir Dost app was released. The sources stated that the government hopes to tax 3.5 million merchants through the app.

Ajmal Baloch, the president of All-Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajran, stated that he made reservations with FBR on the SRO within a week.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), according to him, cannot be a “Tajir Dost” because of its unethical actions.

Baloch believed that since electricity bills allow traders to pay a predetermined advance income tax, further taxes are unnecessary.

The trader, according to him, is already paying thirteen different kinds of taxes on the commercial meter. “A trader already pays between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 20,000 in taxes annually, but you are requesting Rs. 1,200 per month in taxes.”

Mr. Ajmal summoned representatives of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to a meeting with the trade associations to talk about the indirect taxes that the merchants are paying.

Additionally, he claimed that FBR officers are charging the traders, the majority of whom are less educated, “monthly charges.”

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Donald Lu visits Finance Minister Aurangzeb at the World Bank headquarters.

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Wednesday saw Minister for Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb meet US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Horst.

The finance minister briefed US officials on Pakistan’s reform plan at the World Bank. Meeting both delegations decided to improve bilateral ties.

Meeting topics included alternative energy, agriculture, climate, and tech industry. Boosting the Pakistan-US economic partnership was another finance ministry priority.

With US officials, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb addressed IT, agriculture, and other business potential.

Pakistan would collaborate with the US International Development Finance Corporation and Exim Bank, according to Muhammad Aurangzeb.

His name is Donald Lu.
Over 30 years of US government service for Lu as a foreign service officer.

What Pakistan calls the “cipher” dispute involves the American official. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder claimed that a supposed official letter between Washington and Islamabad proved his ousting as PM was a US conspiracy.

Washington has strongly refuted Khan’s allegations.

The State Department’s top South and Central Asia diplomat is Donald Lu, assistant secretary of state.

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