Friendly countries’ assistance to help get IMF bailout at better terms: Asad

Friendly countries’ assistance to help get IMF bailout at better terms: Asad

Islamabad (Staff Report): Finance Minister Asad Umer has said that bolstering exports, reducing fiscal and trade deficit and generating job opportunities for the youth are the priorities of the government to steer the country out of current economic crisis.

Addressing the National Assembly session on Tuesday, the finance minister said that the government is seeking financial assistance from the friendly countries in order to get the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program at better terms.

He pointed out that short term stabilisation has been achieved as a result of some steps in the past two months.

Asad said the stock markets are now witnessing stabilisation. The stock market raised by five thousand points in the last few days. He was of the view that the stock market had started witnessing positive trends even before the announcement of Saudi relief package.

The minister said Saudi Arabia has agreed to deposit three billion dollars with State Bank of Pakistan for a period of one year while the friendly country will provide nine billion dollars of oil on deferred payment for a period of three years.

He said that PM Imran is now visiting China and our aim is to take the project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to the next phase of the establishment of special economic zones.

The finance minister said a bilateral trade framework is being prepared to reduce the deficit of trade with China. He said China is fully supporting us in this endeavor.

"Joint ventures between Pakistani and Chinese companies in the SEZs will also help Pakistan cut its overall trade deficit", he added.

Asad said a coordinated plan is being prepared to provide job opportunities to the youth. He said only the SME sector will provide two million jobs to the youth in the next five years and this will be done by ensuring better access to finances.

The finance minister said the government wants to make the next IMF program the last one for the country.

Asad expressed the confidence that the opposition parties will give concrete suggestions to achieve that goal.

The finance minister while eferring to the steps taken to bolster the exports, said that the PTI government reduced the prices of both gas and power for the export industry.

He added the poor segments of the society were also protected against the increase in the prices of the utilities. The finance minister said the government reduced taxes on the export industry in the supplementary budget and it desires to further cut them.