State Bank of Pakistan Governor Dr Reza Baqir introducing the Roshan Digital Initiative at the Pakistan embassy in Washington DC, US. Photo: Twitter/ Asad M Khan
  • State Bank of Pakistan Governor Dr Reza Baqir says the IMF and Pakistan share the same goals.
  • “We too want to expand our tax net and improve our tax-to-GDP ratio,” says Dr Baqir.
  • SBP governor talks about Roshan Digital Accounts, status of Pakistan’s economic recovery and priority govt attaches to overseas Pakistanis at Pakistan embassy in Washington.

WASHINGTON: State Bank of Pakistan Governor Reza Baqir says that the talks with the International Monetary Fund are going well and that Pakistan and IMF’s goals are aligned.

The SBP governor was speaking to the media after introducing the Roshan Digital Initiative to a gathering at the Pakistan embassy in Washington DC. He said that Pakistan is taking steps to get out of the Financial Action Task Force grey list.

Baqir spoke about the SBP Amendment Bill, 2021, saying that Pakistan is not the only country where changes in the central bank Act have been proposed for its autonomy and that countries with an independent central bank achieve better outcomes in terms of growth, employment, and inflation.

Read more: Neither IMF programme suspended, nor World Bank loans withheld for Pakistan: finance ministry

He said the Bill will be debated and that it is in “the interest of Pakistan”.

The SBP governor said that Pakistanis abroad have benefited a lot from the Roshan Digital Account.

So far, 180,000 Pakistanis have benefited from it and about 800 to 1,000 new accounts are being opened every day.

On Pakistan and IMF talks

Baqir said that there is constant communication with the IMF and “technical issues” are being discussed.

He said negotiations with the IMF are going well and the international money lender’s targets are the same as Pakistan’s.

“We [the IMF and Pakistan] share the same goals. We too want to expand our tax net and improve our tax-to-GDP ratio,” Baqir said “We share the same objectives in other sectors too, such as energy and circular debt. The talks are about how to attain these goals.”

Read more: Policies in Pakistan’s favour to be implemented despite IMF aid: Dr Reza Baqir

Last month, the IMF said that further discussions with Pakistan are needed on Pakistan’s fiscal spending plans, structural reforms, particularly in the tax and energy sectors, and social spending.

According to IMF spokesman Gerry Rice, the Fund is holding open, constructive discussions with Pakistan as part of a sixth review of the country’s 39-month, $6 billion financing programme that began in 2019.

Rice declined to say if disbursements under that programme had been halted.

“We stand ready to continue to support Pakistan,” he said.

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 has conveyed that the sixth review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) will be accomplished in September this year instead of July 2021.

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