ISLAMABAD - President Asif Ali Zardari Monday said that government had inherited serious economic problems from the very beginning and had to take some difficult and politically 'unpopular decisions to revive the economy. Talking to the IMF mission, he said that steps had been taken to restore budgetary balance, control expenditures and increase revenues. Adnan Mazarei, Head of IMF Mission for Pakistan, along with Paul Ross, Resident Representative of IMF, called on President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani separately here on Monday. Senior government functionaries who assisted the President and the Prime Minister in the meetings included Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Secretary General to the President M Salman Faruqui, Chairman FBR Sohail Ahmad and other high officials. The President said that these measures had started yielding positive results as inflation decreased from 25 per cent in October 2008 to 13 per cent in June 2009 and foreign exchange reserves witnessed an increase, which recently crossed the 13 billion dollar mark. He said that steps were under way to strengthen the foundations of economy and gearing up industrial and agricultural growth. He added that the establishment of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) in Fata would help generate economic activity in the area, alleviate poverty and generate employment. He stressed the need for more access to US and EU markets for Pakistani goods. Briefing the media persons about the meeting, Spokesperson to the President former senator Farhatullah Babar said that Pakistan had signed standby agreement (SBA) with the IMF in November 2008 for additional financing of $7.6 billion over 23 months. So far Pakistan had received a little over $5 billion dollars. Under the SBA, two reviews had been successfully completed, he said. He said that the head of IMF Mission appreciated Pakistans efforts to stabilise economy and expressed the hope that the efforts would continue to further strengthen the economy. He also appreciated that Pakistan had done well despite global recession, fight against militants and massive displacement of people from Swat and Malakand, which impeded economic activity. He said that the international community had great sympathy for the Pakistans problems and appreciated the major progress made by it in various ways. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister, during his meeting, told the IMF team that the tax to GDP ratio had been increased from 8.8 to 10.6 per cent in one year. We have firm commitment to enhance the ratio to the level of 15 per cent in the next five years by broadening the tax base, Gilani affirmed. He further said that due to stringent fiscal measures, the government had successfully brought down the fiscal deficit from 7.6 per cent to 5.2 per cent, recorded a reduction of 33 per cent while the foreign exchange reserves improved to the level of US $14.3 billion. The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction over the overall economic situation in the country, as all economic indicators had started showing positive trend due to governments timely intervention and introduction of corrective measures. He said economic well-being of the people through infrastructure development and increasing economic opportunities were some of the priority areas which the government was focusing on to achieve these objectives. While appreciating the IMF for its help in substantiating governments efforts in overcoming the economic challenges due to global recession and providing additional US $2.4 billion, the Prime Minister told Mazarei about governments approach to address problems like poverty, energy shortage, limited access to public services, and extremism through a combination of administrative, political and security measures. The Prime Minister said that steps had been taken by the government to implement macro-economic reforms such as phased removal of subsidies on petroleum and power, tightening of monetary policy, increasing revenue and controlling expenditures while reducing borrowing from the state bank. He said the government had also taken steps to improve the power situation in the country by installing new power plants as well as tapping alternate energy sources, besides encouraging conservation of energy. Adnan Mazarei appreciated that the government of Pakistan had taken difficult decisions in difficult times. He said that the Fund Board had fully acknowledged the achievements of Islamabad in enhancing tax to GDP ratio, reducing inflation and improving the overall economic situation by adopting right economic policies.