‘Friends’ agreed to provide petroleum products on softer terms: Miftah
Says default averted, now govt priority is on stability: Pakistan expects to receive $4 billion from IMF over next year
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Speaking at a seminar on Improving the Corporate Governance and Performance of SOEs in Islamabad on Wednesday, Miftah Ismail emphasized on reforms to improve the efficiency of state-owned enterprises. He admitted there is no dearth of competency in these institutions rather it is matter of only better laws to improve their governance.
Touching upon the economic situation, he said policies will be instituted to bring inclusive and sustainable growth. He said we have averted default and our priority at the moment is keep the country on the straight path of stability.
Miftah pointed out that there has been remarkable contraction in imports during the current month. From next month, he was confident that the inflows of dollars will be more than the outflows. He said this will reduce pressure on the rupee.
As regards the IMF programme, Miftah said Pakistan will get about four billion dollars from the international lender over the next one year. He was confident that the friendly countries will also provide financing of four billion dollars in the form of investment in stock market, purchase of two power plants and deferred oil and gas payments.
“As for the IMF programme, the staff-level agreement will now envisage the program to extend for another year and also augment the amount by a billion dollars,” he said.
The government had talked about anti-corruption laws with the IMF though those are not part of prior conditions. “I suggested investigating whether these laws can or have been used to persecute political opponents and whether there is a trade-off between efficiency of government and anti-corruption laws.”
The “benchmark was about forming a team” which would do a diagnostic analysis of anti-corruption laws in Pakistan, he said, adding: “We will constitute the commission of best experts around the world.”
“Getting aid from friendly countries is not part of prior conditions either, though we have some countries willing to buy our shares and our power plants in Haweli and Bahadurshah.”
Some countries were also willing to give the country energy on credit, he said, reiterating that the government would be able to fill the $4 billion financing gap over the next year.
“We are also lifting the ban from certain imported goods like pet foods etc,” he said, “but, we’re adding some prior registration conditions on imports of certain raw materials and machinery.”
Miftah claimed that some companies and people had started hoarding petrol when the government was subsidizing the fuel. “Now we have more petrol in stock than we used to have before. We have 42 days of diesel as compared to six; 30 days of motor gas as compared to 10. We will not be importing petrol, gas etc in the next few weeks.”
He was of the view that such policies would contract the demand and will bring down imports. “We will have more inflow of dollars than outflows.”
“We’ve controlled the situation, however, and expect higher exports and remittances compared to imports,” he said, “This is a temporary measure, I want the demand and economy to grow. Specifically, we need inclusive and sustainable growth.”