Esther Perez Ruiz, the nominated Resident Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), paid a courtesy call on Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin at the Finance Division on Monday.
Ruiz, currently visiting Pakistan on a pre-assignment mission, was accompanied by the outgoing IMF representative Ms. Teresa Sanchez. The Finance Minister felicitated the nominated Resident Representative and expressed his best wishes for her upcoming assignment beginning in November 2021.
Finance Minister stated that Pakistan was firmly committed to pursuing an all-inclusive and sustainable economic growth with a focus on a “bottom-up” approach to uplift marginalized segments of the society. “To this end, the government intends to engage development partners to broaden economic development through fiscal consolidation and prudent economic measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic and in the post-COVID-19 scenario,” he underlined. He commended IMF for extending timely assistance during testing times.
The Finance Minister underlined the key initiatives of the government to provide maximum relief to the masses. He stressed that the government was taking a range of administrative, policy, and relief measures to absorb the upward pressure on prices of basic food commodities due to the pandemic.
The government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to enhance revenue collection and to broaden the existing tax base, he said. He highlighted the commendable performance of FBR in surpassing revenue collection targets in recent months despite the ongoing COVID-19. The broadening of the tax base is one of the key priorities of the government, he added.
The Finance Minister assured the IMF representatives that the government was committed to the IMF program and it hoped to successfully complete the upcoming review as well as Article IV consultations. He said the implementation of track and trace for tobacco was being started from October 1, 2021, as it was one of the requirements under the IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program. He stated that reforms were being carried out in the power sector to address the issue of circular debt. It is worth mentioning that Pakistan is in IMF’s extended fund facility EFF program since July 2019 for 6 billion dollars.
The new representative of IMF commended the efforts of Pakistan in managing the spread of the virus through a series of smart and targeted lockdowns to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods. She expressed a hope to work closely with the Government of Pakistan during her tenure.
The Finance Minister assured Ms. Ruiz of full support and facilitation from the government and wished her well with her new assignment.