Strategy evolved to level imports with exports and remittances, says Miftah Ismail

Strategy evolved to level imports with exports and remittances, says Miftah Ismail

Islamabad (Web Desk): Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail on Wednesday said that the government had taken result-oriented measures to level imports with exports and remittances.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, he said that soon after assuming the power, the government initiated measures to reduce imports and it achieved success in June when the non-energy import bill reduced by 15%.

"However, the energy imports increased due to price-hike in international market and import bill surged by 120% last month, he added.

He said that there were imports of $7.4 billion last month including $ 3.7 billion energy and $3.7 billion other imports.

"The government has taken many measures including improving LC margins, banning assembled vehicles and mobile phones," the minister said, adding that the government also reduced speed of local manufacturing of cars, vehicles and fridges. It also made it mandatory for $1 lac LC to get permission from State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The minister said, last year there was $48 billion trade deficit and $17 billion current account deficit, which is not affordable for Pakistan. However, it is encouraging that the measures the government had taken helped reduce imports.

He said that the economic fundamentals of trade have been corrected as imports are almost equal to remittances and exports. There is little CAD, which could be financed.

The minister said that the Extended Fund Facility agreement with International Monetary Fund (IMF) was on track and there was no issue that could halt it.

He said Pakistan had already met all the prior requirements for the fund. He said the loan money would be transferred after formal approval by IMF board.

Miftah Ismail said the economy is on the right trajectory, saying there has been improvement in tax collection.

"We will enhance tax to GDP ratio and reduce the budget deficit during the current fiscal year," he said, expressing the confidence that the issue of inflation will also be tackled in the next two to three months.

Responding to a question, the finance minister said dollar has appreciated against other currencies of the world as well.

He however said the recent dip of rupee against dollar was due to the political situation in the country.

The finance minister said that the situation will move towards normalization after improvement in political situation in the next few days.