Talks with IMF enter into final phase

ISLAMABAD: The ongoing talks between the visiting delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistani officials have entered into its conclusive phase.
The IMF delegation held elaborated dialogues with the Pakistan officials over the economic situation of the country, whereas, the IMF mission will respond to the government over reviewing its financial targets of grabbing Rs5500 billion tax collection in the current fiscal year, sources said.
It is noteworthy to mention here that Pakistan has demanded to deal with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) matters separately from the IMF bailout package. The federal government has also sought the elimination of the condition for guaranteeing the financial body for the issuance of bonds.
IMF mission during its talks with the economic officials stressed on the issuance of funds allocated for the development programmes, as well as the establishment of a tax collection authority, sources said.
Prior to the development, the international body emphasised to further reduce the fiscal deficit by making a cut in government’s expenses, exemption and subsidies in different sectors and a major rise in the number of taxpayers and. During the stay of the IMF mission in Pakistan, the economic team briefed the institution over the financial statistics which witnessed a reduction of 32 per cent in term of current account deficit; 64 pc declivity in the first quarter of the current financial year and 50 pc decrement in the fiscal deficit. The overall figure of the fiscal deficit was shrunk to 0.7 per cent from 1.5 per cent, whereas, a sharp rise in tax return filing up to 55 per cent while the authorities recorded 15 per cent rise in tax collections.
A phase-wise reduction was made in circulatory debt of Rs1200 billion, sources added. Both sides have also held discussions over the financial targets to be finalised for the next quarter. The government had been given a target for tax retrieval up to Rs1447 billion in the first four months of the current fiscal year, however, the collections stood at less than Rs167 billion from July to October.–Agencies