Meeting of the Finance Minister with MD IMF at Islamabad

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Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director IMF stated that “Pakistan has graduated with success” from a frontier market to an emerging market during the last three years and that inclusion of Pakistan in the Morgan Stanley MSCI Index is a signal from the global financial markets that Pakistan can be placed amongst the world’s emerging economies.She said this during her meeting with Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar  and the economic team here today.

Ms. Christine Lagarde Managing Director International Monetary Fund, (IMF)is on a two day visit to Pakistan on the invitation of the Finance Minister. The Finance Minister welcomed the dignitary to Pakistan during the official talks and said that the economic reform agenda adopted by the government since coming to office in 2013 was part of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) election manifesto. He said that it had been possible to undertake the challenge of economic reform during the last three years due to the sterling support and visionary guidance of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The Finance Minister briefed the MD IMF on the steps taken to overcome the energy shortages in the country, to eliminate extremism, stabilize the economy and initiatives regarding provision of education and health related social safety nets. He said that fiscal consolidation due to prudent fiscal policies had given fiscal space to the government to increase development spending from Rs 300 billion to Rs 800 billion. He said that the government has taken on the challenge to eliminate extremism in the country and appreciated the role of the armed forces in their relentless efforts for elimination of terrorism in Pakistan.

She congratulated the Finance Minister for setting in place a strong macroeconomic framework and said that this foundation possesses the drivers for sustained growth. She acknowledged that in these times of slow global growth, the government’s ambitious development plan has provided the country withan opportune moment to emerge as a middle income country with a resilient economy and sustained growth. MD IMF noted that Pakistan had undertaken deep rooted structural reforms during the three-year Extended Fund Facility of the IMF, including reduction in budget deficit, reform of the power sector, broadening of tax base and improvement in revenue collection.

The Finance Minister said that the government was now focusing on further expansion of the revenue base, improving export competitiveness and business climate, ensuring expansion of social safety nets, gender mainstreaming, building infrastructure and ensuring skill based education for the youth of the country.  He stressed that the government has acquired strong economic fundamentals and was now in a position to focus on further aligning its policies to meet the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Ms Lagarde thanked the Finance Minister for the warm hospitality extended to her and her delegation. She said the though Pakistan had completed the IMF Extended Fund Facility, the IMF would continue its partnership with the government in providing technical support and sharing international best practices.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Water & Power Khawaja Asif, Minister of State for Information Technology Ms. Anusha Rehman, SA to PM on Revenue, Governor SBP, Secretary Finance, Secretary EAD, Chairman FBR, Mr. Masood Ahmed Director MCD IMF, Mr Harald Finger Mission Chief Pakistan, Executive Director for Pakistan IMF Mr. Jafar Mojarrad, Senior Advisor IMF Mr. Shahid Mahmood and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.