Call to implement reforms before another IMF loan

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LAHORE: There is no harm to approach the IMF for another loan but prior it there is need to improve governance and financial discipline and implement economic reforms agenda.

 

These views were expressed by the discussants in Jang Economic Session on ‘IMF loan at what conditions’, here on Wednesday. The panellists were former Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed Khan, Economist Dr Aisha Pasha, PTA Chairman Agha Saidian, MNA Qaiser Sheikh and lawyer Asim Hafeez while hosted by Sikandar Hameed Lodhi and Intikhab Tariq.

 

Shamshad Ahmed Khan said the IMF and WB are exploitative institutions and will not give loan on easy terms while loan giver has right to ask the borrower about its utilisation. He said unfortunately Pakistan is habitual loan seeker while never implement loan condition and loses its credibility. He called prioritising the loan utilisation and if cut down unnecessary government expenses, no loan will be required. Dr Aisha Pasha said there were two options to run the economy, one is loan and the other is improvement in financial discipline. For financial discipline, there is need to introduce tax reforms, broaden the tax base, settle the issue of FBR and loss making public sector institutions, she said. She said, otherwise, no option left other than seeking loan from the IMF. She stressed the need to evolve domestic plan rather to implement IMF plan.

 

Agha Saidian said that it will be 19th bailout package in Pakistan’s history. He said the IMF had already asked change in economic policies, increase in GST and end the subsidies for loan while practically the government has already taken these steps before going to the IMF. This should be kept in mind that no debt will be written off or rescheduled. He said the IMF was concerned about returning of its loan not with Pakistanis. He stressed the need to increase exports and reduce imports and depend on national resources but Pakistan was taking more loans to pay previous loans.

 

Qaiser Sheikh said bad financial performance was the actual issue of Pakistan which needed to improve. He suggested reducing non-development expenditures, increasing tax to GDP ratio, financial discipline and introducing tax reforms. He said if any extra expenditure was required, then it should be tabled in parliament as it was practiced in India. He said tax to GDP ratio will increase by broaden the tax base rather to increase tax rate. Asim Hafeez said IMF loan conditions should be looked in national context and no such condition would be accepted which was against the national interest. He said if IMF wants reforms in Pakistan taxation system against the loan there is no harm in it.





Courtesy:  The News


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