LAHORE/DUBAI -  The second round of technical talks between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund concluded in Dubai on Wednesday. Sources said that IMF expressed reservations over country’s low tax collection.

Policy level talks between Pakistan and IMF would be held in Dubai on February 6, while Fund’s country director is expected to visit Pakistan on February 9.

Staff reporter adds from Islamabad: Finance Ministry’s press statement said that IMF mission chief Jeffery Franks appreciated the efforts of the government and opined that macro-economic situation of Pakistan is favouarble.

“The IMF views that the government of Pakistan is fully committed to the reforms agenda,” he added. Jeffery Franks appreciated the efforts of FBR for revenue collection as well as other economic indicators of Pakistan’s economy which suggests that the economy is on track and its outlook is positive.

Federal Minister for Finance Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar while chairing a meeting  with IMF delegates in Dubai gave a detailed economic review of Pakistan’s economy. Senior officials of Ministry of Finance and State Bank of Pakistan wer also present during the meeting.

The finance minister said that the present government is following economic reforms agenda and nearly all the economic indicators were on track. He said the first quarterly results of economic growth in Pakistan indicate that GDP had shown a growth of 5 per cent in the first quarter as compared to 2.9 per cent of the same period last year. The minister said that Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, which is an autonomous body, had decided that henceforth the National Account Base would be changed after every ten years. He stated that the next base year would be 2015 and other in 2025 which was a major advance in country’s statistical capability and determination to have accessibility of evolving economic conditions over a shorter period of time compared to annual accounts.

Large scale manufacturing (LSM), the minister said, had shown a positive growth of 5.2 per cent during July-November (fiscal year 2014) as compared to 2.2 per cent in the comparable period last year. “Due to better energy and gas supply, fertilizer sector posted the growth of 32.8 per cent, electronics 18.9 per cent, paper & board 19.6 per cent, leather products 12.9 per cent, coke & petroleum products 8.8 per cent, iron and steel products 4.4 per cent, food beverages & tobacco 7.7 per cent, chemicals 3.2 per cent and textile 2.1 percent,” he added. He further said that the credit to private sector also increased to Rs 231 billion as compared to Rs 53 billion during January 2014 over January 2013.

Dar said that the arrival of important crops such as cotton crop had posted a growth of 7.5 per cent over last year as well, while other crops production were also likely to give comfort to growth targets.

Dilating on the external front, the finance minister said that exports were showing positive trend and grew by 3.2 per cent as compared to last year. The value-added exports will also increase further due to GSP Plus status, he added. Senator Ishaq Dar said that the imports were 3.9 per cent higher than last year’s. The important thing, he said, is that import of machinery increased by 26 per cent, which is an indication that economic activities are taking place.

He said that this year remittances showed an increase of 9.5 per cent over last years which was helping balance of payments position. He added that he was hopeful that there would be further improvement in balance of payments position and foreign exchange reserves on account of expected foreign inflows.