ISLAMABAD  -   Finance Minister Asad Umar said yesterday that Pakistan and International Monetary Fund (IMF) had agreed in principle on a three-year loan programme that would also pave way to receive loans from other multilateral institutions like World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“The loan package from the IMF could be $6-8 billion,” said the finance minister talking to media after attending National Assembly’s standing committee on finance and revenue. He further said that Pakistan and IMF had agreed in principle on the new loan programme. The IMF’s mission will visit Pakistan by end of the current month to finalise package, he maintained.    Meanwhile, office of the resident representative of IMF has issued a press statement on talks with Pakistan. “The Pakistani authorities and IMF staff held constructive discussions during the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington DC towards an IMF-supported programme. At the request of the authorities, an IMF mission will be going to Pakistan before end of April to continue discussions.”

Umar said that Pakistan would also receive loans from WB and ADB after finalising deal with the IMF. The WB would disburse $7 billion loan to Pakistan in next few years while the country would also receive loans from the ADB and IFC. He also announced that Pakistan would issue bonds in the international market.

“All these loans will the country to build its foreign exchange reserves, which are currently under pressure to massive loan repayment.”

The finance minister said that IMF had not sought details of the Chinese loans from Pakistan during the current negotiations held in Washington. Pakistan had already given details of Chinese loans to the IMF in October last year. Similarly, he clarified, Pakistan and IMF had not discussed country’s defence budget during current talks. He said general public would not be impacted by the IMF agreement. He also clarified that government had no plans to raise electricity prices.

Umar said he met with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) President Marshall Billingslea during the US visit, who assured him that any decision would be taken on technical grounds. Pakistan will send a draft detailing its implementation on FATF’s recommendations by today (April 15), he said. A delegation of FATF will visit Pakistan in the third week of May to review implementation efforts.

Briefing the National Assembly’s standing committee on finance and revenue, Umar said capital market would improve after the IMF programme. The country’s economic situation would improve and reserves would start building after the loan programme from the Fund. He further said that government was taking difficult decisions to control soaring budget deficit. The government would increase prices of those commodities which were not increased by the previous PML-N government.

The standing committee on finance, revenue and economic affairs of the National Assembly met with MNA Faizullah in chair.

Minister of State for Revenue Muhammad Hammad Azhar briefed the committee about the salient features of the amnesty scheme proposed by the government.

The committee discussed issues of real estate sector pertaining to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) valuation table, DC valuation and upper cap imposed by the FBR. The committee was informed by the Member (IR-Policy) FBR regarding upper cap imposed by the FBR, he said the provision of section 236W of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 imposes 3 percent tax on differential value of immovable property being the difference of FBR value and DC value. He added that provision was only applicable if the buyer registers the property at DC value but pays advance income tax u/s 236K at FBR value which was a value higher than DC value.