Pakistan pledged to complete the FATF Action Plan, says Azhar, as the plenary approaches

  • “We look forward to the recognition of significant progress that the Pakistani authorities have made,” says Azhar.
  • The five-day plenary session of the FATF begins in Paris from February 16.

The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Hammad Azhar, has stressed that his team remains committed to completing the Action Plan of the Pakistan Financial Action Task Force (FATF), as the intergovernmental organization reviews Pakistan’s measures at the meeting that begins February 16th.

“Pakistan remains committed to the speedy completion of its FATF Action Plan,” Azhar said in a Twitter post.

The minister added that the FATF Plenary is a technical process. “Regardless of and without speculating about any final decision in the plenary, we hope to recognize the significant progress that the Pakistani authorities have made,” he said.

The five-day plenary session of the FATF begins in Paris from February 16. According to the details, the meeting will decide whether Pakistan will remain on the gray list or leave it.

Reports indicate that despite opposition from neighboring rival India during the FATF meeting in Beijing last year, the United States, the European Union, has supported Pakistan for its measures taken to counter money laundering and terrorist financing. .

Meanwhile, Pakistan already has strong support from neighboring China and friendly countries such as Turkey and Malaysia. Following a strong diplomatic campaign, Pakistan is optimistic to obtain the support of more countries, since the country needs 12 of 39 votes to get off the gray list and enter the white list.

Pakistan received 14 points from 27 at the Asia Pacific Group meeting held in Beijing, China from January 21 to 23. The Pakistani delegation led by Azhar managed to convince the FATF that the bank accounts of nine terrorist organizations, including several Taliban leaders have been frozen

The FATF added Pakistan to the gray list in June 2018. After that, Pakistan secured the implementation of most of the points and action plans.

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Sheikh defends the economic policies of the government in the National Assembly

  • Pakistan in its 72-year history has never been successful in tax collection, says Sheikh.
  • “Our first objective was to save Pakistan from non-compliance,” says Hafeez.

Financial advisor Abdul Hafeez Sheikh defended the economic policies of his government, while addressing the National Assembly on Wednesday.

“We cannot have a country where the population is underdeveloped; if we want to prosper we have to invest in people, “Sheikh said in his speech to the National Assembly (NA) in Islamabad.” The countries that have made progress, including China, Korea and Malaysia, have found a way to sell their products globally and develop a business-friendly environment, “he said.

“Pakistan in its 72-year history has never been successful in collecting taxes, and has continued to depend on other countries,” he said. Citing the example of China, the sheikh said that the growth outbreaks in Pakistan were short term, so we must find a solution on how we can maintain a high growth rate for a long time.

We face a debt of Rs30,000 billion, when the PTI government came to power. “We had to pay Rs.5 billion in loans in the 2019-20 fiscal year,” he said. The sheikh reported that the circular debt increased thirty-eight billion rupees monthly and we have reduced it to twelve billion rupees.

Shiekh said that foreign exchange reserves had plummeted due to previous government policy.

The country needs dollars since loans were taken in USD, lamented the adviser, who urged to strengthen exports to increase reserves. The sheikh said that in the last five years the export growth rate was zero. “People were attracted to imports, which affected our economic industrialization and the export sector,” he said.

The advisor added that if the current government does not introduce correct measures, they may also fail. Speaking about the steps taken to boost exports, Sheikh said the government had decided not to impose taxes on exporters and that it was offering electricity and gas at subsidized prices.

“We also decided to provide our exporters with cheap loans and imposed a zero tariff on 1,607 raw material lines, all these measures resulted in export growth,” he said.

Sheikh noted that growth in the agricultural sector was also appalling, while another growing concern for Pakistan is its electricity sector. “Our first objective was to save Pakistan from non-compliance, because if it happened, it would be harmful to the citizens of Pakistan,” he said.

The advisor said the government was forced to apply for a loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He said the financing of $ 6 billion was made in soft terms.

Speaking about the measures taken by the government, the adviser said that one of the big decisions was to “freeze” the Army budget. “The army leadership, including General Bajwa, supported the government’s decision,” he said.

He said the salaries of cabinet members, judges and secretaries also faced cuts.

The sheikh said the government decided not to borrow from the State Bank of Pakistan, and has not done so in the last seven months, as it will add to inflation.

A large aid package has been announced through the Utility Stores Corporation to provide essential items such as flour, rice, legumes and sugar to people at reduced prices.

He said we are planning to improve the network of utility stores from four thousand to six thousand in the coming months. The Adviser said that a ration scheme will also be launched before Ramadan under which deserving people will receive essential items with reduced rates of twenty-five percent through public service stores.

The sheikh said that the world’s trust is restored in Pakistan. Global institutions such as the IMF, Bloomberg, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and Moody’s are recognizing the economic performance of the government.

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President FBR Shabbar Zaidi has not resigned

  • The name of Ahmed Mujtaba Memon, is making rounds in the Ministry of Finance and the FBR for the post of President FBR.
  • Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked SAPM at Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan to suggest names for the new FBR president.

The president of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Syed Shabbar Zaidi, did not resign from the post of head of FBR, it was learned Tuesday.

Reports on the resignation of President FBR Shabbar Zaidi were reported, it was reported that he informed senior officials of his decision, after resigning due to health problems.

However, Zaidi later denied the news saying that he had not resigned from the post of President of FBR, and said he cannot continue working anymore due to health problems, and has also informed senior officials of the decision.

On Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan asked Prime Minister’s special assistant on income, Haroon Akhtar Khan, to suggest names for the new FBR president in case Shabbar Zaidi cannot continue as president because of his health problems.

When contacted on Monday, Shabbar Zaidi said Business recorder“Wrong. It improved but it got worse again. Inshallah will be better again.”

Earlier, the Adviser to the Prime Minister of Finance, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, dismissed the reports on the elimination of Shabbar Zaidi, calling it “completely false.” “We want Shabbar Zaidi to recover soon and return to the office,” he said.

However, if Zaidi’s condition does not improve, alternative options can be considered, Sheikh added.

Meanwhile, the name of Ahmed Mujtaba Memon, a man who reportedly has the confidence of Hafeez Sheikh, is making rounds in the Ministry of Finance and the FBR for the post of President FBR after Shabbar Zaidi left his license Medical for the second time this month. .

Informed Sources Business recorder that Zaidi faces serious health problems, but also acknowledged that the gap between the Adviser and the President has deepened.

Zaidi was licensed from January 6 to January 19, 2020 and has a medical license from Monday (February 3).

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Pray Baqir, Hafeez Sheikh will not be replaced: PM Khan

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered the economic team to select the right person for the position of President FBR.
  • The recent flour crisis created in the country has nothing to do with PTI leader Jahangir Tareen, says the prime minister.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, while denying the news of the change in the ministries, has said that finance advisor Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Reza Baqir will not be replaced.

“There is no authenticity in that news,” the prime minister said during his meeting on Monday during a meeting with government spokesmen chaired by the prime minister, according to reports.

The prime minister said the president of the Federal Revenue Board (FBR), Syed Shabbar Zaidi, was seriously ill. According to sources, the Prime Minister has ordered the economic team to select the right person for the position of President FBR.

Prime Minister Khan, while responding to criticism from the opposition, said the recent flour crisis created in the country has nothing to do with PTI leader Jahangir Tareen.

Meanwhile, to provide relief to the public affected by inflation, Prime Minister Imran would announce on Tuesday a relief package of Rs15-18 billion. At the meeting, the Prime Minister decided to reduce food prices. The federal government has decided to sell wheat, legumes, sugar and rice at rates of 10 to 25 percent cheaper.

Speaking about the aid package, Prime Minister Khan decided to immediately release Rs10 billion for public service stores, for the purchase of products. The Prime Minister has decided to grant a subsidy of Rs2bn to the utility store every month from February to June. Some 7,000 utility stores across the country will get affordable items.

The federal government has also issued instructions to buy 200,000 tons of wheat.

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Policy-level discussions begin with the IMF mission

  • There is also the possibility of introducing a new slab for the electricity sector.
  • The decision to introduce additional taxes of Rs300 billion or submit a mini budget will also be taken during policy-level discussions.

After the conclusion of the technical-level talks, Pakistan will begin policy-level negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as of today (Monday), as Pakistan seeks the third installment of a $ 450 million loan.

According to the details, the Ministry of Finance will have policy-level discussions with the IMF delegation, which will consider proposals that include giving more autonomy to the Nepra and OGRA regulatory bodies, and policies to achieve the objectives will also be considered.

During the negotiations, the proposal to increase the prices of electricity and gas will be discussed. While, there is also the possibility of introducing a new slab for the electricity sector. The decision to introduce additional taxes of Rs300 billion or submit a mini budget will also be taken during policy-level discussions.

Reports indicate that the mission of the IMF technical staff, during the second ongoing review of the 6 billion dollar loan program, has expressed concern about the projected fiscal deficit as a result of the estimated revenue deficit of Rs387 billion east year.

Meanwhile, discussions will be held between the Federal Revenue Board (FBR) and the IMF delegation on the introduction of new taxes and the increase in the tax rate.

In addition, the privatization ministry will provide the IMF delegation with details on the sales of entities that incur losses. During the technical-level discussions, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) provided data on the exchange rate and the interest rate to the delegation.

The IMF has released SDR 328 million (about $ 452.4 million), with a total outlay of SDR 1,044 million (approximately $ 1.45 billion). Meanwhile, Pakistan will receive $ 450 million if the talks are successful this time.

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Saving Pakistan by default is the government’s first priority, says Sheikh

  • The national treasury had a debt burden of more than Rs30,000 billion, when the PTI took over the government.
  • The sheikh rejected reports on FBR President Shabbar Zaidi, and described him as completely false.

The adviser to the Prime Minister of Finance, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, when reporting on economic measures, said the government’s first priority is to save the country from default.

Speaking to local media, Shaikh said the national Ministry of Finance had a debt burden of more than Rs 30,000 million, when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) took over the government. The government’s first task after coming to power was to protect the country from default, he said.

The advisor added that the government decided to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the same purpose. He also said that if the government did not approach the IMF, the country would have suffered great losses.

Speaking about government measures, Hafeez Shaikh said the current account deficit of $ 20 billion was limited to $ 2 billion; and no tax was imposed on exporters. He also added that concessions in electricity, gas and loans were also granted.

The advisor dismissed the reports on the president of the Federal Revenue Board (FBR), Shabbar Zaidi, and described him as completely false. “We want Shabbar Zaidi to recover soon and return to the office,” he said.

However, if Zaidi’s condition does not improve, alternative options can be considered, Sheikh added.

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