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Quitting IMF programme not possible now: Pakistan Finance Minister

ANI | Updated: Jun 18, 2021 03:38 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], June 18 (ANI): Pakistan Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has said that it is not possible for Pakistan to come out of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, as he agreed to review the Federal Board of Revenue's (FBR) powers of arresting taxpayers in consultation with senators.
The federal Minister's comments came during his discussion with the Senate Standing Committee (SSC) on Finance in Parliament House. The meeting was held under the committee's head, Senator Talha Mehmood's, chairmanship, Geo TV reported.
Pakistani authorities and IMF, for the time being, have agreed to continue talks to narrow down differences, but the IMF-sponsored programme has been put on halt mode as the international money lender conveyed that the sixth review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) will be accomplished in September this year instead of July 2021.
Dawn reported that Tarin also held out an assurance that the language of the proposed section 203-A on powers of taxmen to arrest will be changed and all objectionable things will be removed. Earlier, the committee unanimously turned down the arrest powers of the FBR.
The Minister informed the committee that the government estimates the economy to grow by 7 per cent by Fiscal Year 23 when the country will go for new elections with a projection of 5 per cent-5.5 per cent for the upcoming 2021-22.

Opposition parties have blamed the Imran Khan-led government that the budget 2021-22 is laden with tax measures suggested by the IMF, which are anti-poor and will jack up consumer inflation.
"It is not possible to get out of the IMF programme at this time," Tarin said, adding "We were forced to go to the IMF". "This time the IMF was not friendly with us and the programme was front-loaded and tough," he further said while comparing with the previous programmes with the lenders.
Earlier this week, Tarin presented the budget for 2021-22.
The committee has strongly opposed the government's decision to increase the sales tax on gold, diamonds and precious stones as well as on dairy products, bricks, aircraft, plants and machinery, importing aircraft and spare parts, withdrawal of exemption on LED lights, cotton seeds, soyabean meal, soyabean seeds, raw cotton, ginning cotton, plant, machinery, packaged flavoured milk, cream, yoghurt, poultry machinery and many other items.
Member Policy FBR informed the committee that the government has abolished all reduced sales tax rates on the non-essential and luxury items, which were taking undue advantage of the concessionary sales tax regime. (ANI)