Dar affirms transparency, accountability in IMF agreement,

ISLAMABAD  – The coalition government has no plan of imposing new taxes on agriculture and real estate sectors, says Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly on Friday, he said he wanted to make it clear in letter and spirit that “no new tax” would be imposed on agriculture or real estate as the government had already endured much pain in fulfilling the conditions set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The global lender approved a $3 billion bailout programme for Pakistan, out of which $1.2bn was immediately disbursed to help save the ailing economy.

According to some media reports, the international lender had asked the government for a plan to impose taxes on the real estate and agricultural sectors before release of the remaining amount.

The finance minister told the lower house that the people representing the agriculture sector – for which the government expanded the loan volume from Rs1,800 billion to Rs2,250 billion in the budget – had showed concerns over the reports.

He said the government would pass no further burden on the masses as all the commitments made with the IMF were on the finance ministry’s website, adding all prior actions laid down by the lender had been completed.

reiterated his commitment to transparency and accountability in financial matters, particularly concerning the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“I will bring the documents of the IMF agreement in this House as the Finance Minister,” Dar asserted, assuring the lawmakers and the public that he would make the necessary documents available for scrutiny and review.

Regarding the Letter of Intent, Dar revealed that it had been signed on June 30.

He asserted that the MEFP (Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies) and PFP (Policy Framework Paper) were attached to the Letter of Intent.

Dar reasserted that the agreement with the IMF was done in a “transparent” manner.

“It is our effort to bring down the inflation. He said that according to State Bank of Pakistan, the inflation will come down to 7 percent in two years’ time if the consistency in policies continued.”

On the occasion, the Finance Minister also placed before the House the documents pertaining to the standby agreement reached with the IMF.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have deposited $3bn in Pakistan’s central bank in the last two days. China has rolled over $5bn in loans in the last three months to save the country from default.

On Thursday, the Minster said the total liquid foreign reserves of the country clocked in at $14.06bn dollars. In a tweet, he said the State Bank of Pakistan’s reserve position was also highest since October last year.