PESHAWAR     -    Resident representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Pakistan Office, Ms Maria Teresa Daban Sanchez has made it clear that the harsh budgetary measures taken by the government of Pakistan in the recent budget are not part of the IMF fresh financial bailout package.

While speaking in a meeting here at Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Ms Teresa Sanchez said that IMF is extending $6billion, the EFF program on the request of the government of Pakistan. However, she said the government’s reforms initiatives are imperative for sustainable economic growth and development of the country. The IMF resident representative, Ms Teresa Sanchez accompanied by a delegation include senior economist Zafar Hayat and M. Ali visited the chamber and held a meeting with the SCCI president, businessmen and other office bearers of the chamber, said a statement issued here on Thursday.

SCCI vice president Saad Khan, Haris Mufti, FPCCI former president Ghazanfar Bilour, All Pakistan Commercial Exporters’ Association (APCEA) chairman, Manzor Elahi, executive members, Imran Ishaq, Sohail Javed and Pervez Khattak were present in the meeting. Mr Faizi while chairing the meeting said if the business community was taken in confidence by the IMF team before giving an approval of the fresh bailout package of $6 billlion then it would be beneficial for the country’s economy. He said that Pakistan’s economy is passing through a critical phase of its history for which foreign lending or financial package like IMF are essential to bring back the country’s economy on right track.

The SCCI president expressed the hope that the IMF bailout package would stabilise the national economy and bring development in the country. However, he said that increasing budget and trade deficit, especially the current account deficit are major causes of feeble conditions of our national economy. He also mentioned the country’s economy is depends on exports, and especially textile export, which was too badly affected.

The SCCI chief also said that the trade of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is mainly related with Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics (CARs), adding the continuous devaluation of Pakistani rupee against the US dollar is badly affecting the businesses and trade activities as well as export to other neighboring states. He especially mentioned the government’s harsh budgetary measures also multiplied the miseries of the business community.

He also suggested the government to introduce fixed-tax system in the country, and stressed the need that instead of imposition of new taxes on existing tax-payers, the government should bring new people under the tax-net.

Ms Sanchez agreed with the recommendations of the SCCI president Faiz Muhammad and said that IMF bailout package is a holistic one, which will bring economic stability and prosperity in Pakistan and will accelerate economic and trade activities.