Islamabad      -   A Pakistani delegation, led by Finance Minister Asad Umar, met the representatives of Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank (WB) in Washington on Friday.

Pakistani delegates landed in Washington on Tuesday to attend the WB and IMF spring meetings. They also held a number of bilateral parleys on the sidelines of spring meetings, the state-run APP news agency reported on Friday.

According to a press statement, the Pakistani delegation apprised Asian Development Bank (ABD) President Takehiko Nakao of the current macroeconomic situation in the country. Umar and Nakao discussed the continuation of Pakistan's ongoing engagement with the ADB. Nakao appreciated Pakistan’s reforms process and promised ADB's continued support to Islamabad.

Earlier, the finance minister reviewed the WB's Pakistan portfolio in a meeting with the bank team led by Hartwig Schafer, the vice president for South Asia. They discussed projects in the pipeline as well as the sectors in which the WB could scale up its interventions in Pakistan.

Umer shared views about government’s privatisation policy and expansion of a public-private partnership framework with a team of the World Bank's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) led by Chief Operating Officer Vijay Iyer. The MIGA team apprised the finance minister of its current engagements in Pakistan. They informed him that MIGA was looking to expand its portfolio in the country.

The finance minister also met the US treasury and told them the macroeconomic situation in the country, reform efforts, and measures being taken to strengthen the anti-money laundering legal and enforcement framework.

During a meeting with Saudi counterpart Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Umer was informed about the increasing growth momentum of the Saudi economy and the potential employment opportunities for Pakistani construction workers in the country.

Separately, Umar told the audience at an event that Pakistan had been facing a crisis of balance of payments for a long time and Islamabad went to the IMF due to some wrong decisions of the previous governments.

He said: “The programme with IMF would soon be completed for Pakistan. It has been decided in principle to start the IMF mission and the decision has been taken in the best interest of the national economy.”

He said IMF delegation will visit Pakistan in coming weeks to finalise technical details. Umar said trade activities in the region will improve the living standard of the people. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his desire to improve relations with India in his first speech and offered to enhance trade relations.

He said gas agreement with Turkmenistan has been signed while Free Trade Agreement with Turkey will be concluded soon. He said PPP and PML-N governments also sought IMF programmes.

IMF conditions

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has set tough conditions for bailout package for Pakistan, according to NNI news agency. The fund demanded the government give the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) authority of decisions on dollar rate and make independent the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and the  Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra).

Quoting a private TV channel, NNI reported that the fund, while raising demand for strict measures to increase tax income, said the target of tax should be fixed at Rs5000 billion.

It also demanded the government withdraw tax relaxation for the working class, stressing: “The tax relaxation should be brought down to Rs400,000 from Rs1.2 million.”

It also raised the demand for decreasing electricity and gas losses. “The government should not interfere in the decisions of Nepra and Ogra. As many as Rs140 billion outstanding of the electricity and gas should be recovered from masses,” the fund demanded.



IMF conditions

SBP be authorised to decide dollar rate

Nepra and Ogra be made independent

Tax target be fixed at Rs5000 billion

Tax relaxation be reduced to Rs400,000