ISLAMABAD    -    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed satisfaction over the reduction in trade deficit of Pakistan by around 35 percent in first quarter (July to September) of the current fiscal year.

The visiting team of the IMF met Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce, Textile, Industries and Production and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood on Thursday.

Commerce Secretary Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera and other senior officials were also present in the meeting. An official of the commerce ministry informed that Pakistani officials briefed the Fund on the measures taken to control the soaring trade deficit of the country.

IMF was told that Pakistan’s trade deficit was recorded at $5.73 billion in July to September period of the year 2019-2020 as compared to $8.79 billion in the corresponding period of last year, showing reduction of 34.85 percent.

The officials informed the visiting delegation that trade deficit has shrunk due to the massive reduction in imports of the country.

Pakistan’s imports were recorded at $11.25 billion in first quarter of the current fiscal year as against $14.17 billion in the same period of previous year, showing reduction of 20.59 percent.

Meanwhile, the country’s exports have recorded minor growth of 2.75 percent in the period under review. Pakistan has exported goods worth of $5.52 billion in July-September period of the year 2019-2020.

The official informed that Fund has expressed satisfaction over the reduction in trade deficit.

The IMF has asked Pakistani officials to simplify the taxation to attract investment in the country. The officials also briefed the delegation about sales and customs duties rates in Pakistan.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce briefed the Fund about government’s policy to enhance the exports of the country.

He said that government is working on new tariff policy, which would help in resolving trade issues of the country.

Earlier, on Wednesday, according to the reports the visiting team of IMF had discussed with the FBR a number of policy issues including simplification of complex income tax system, harmonization of taxes, introduction of a very simple scheme for small businesses, and integration between federal and provincial tax authorities through a single portal.

The IMF technical team will also hold meetings with Ministry of Climate Change to explore possibility of imposing any pollution related tax in future.

The FBR officials and the IMF experts also discussed in detail the contribution of services sector, agriculture sector, services sector and wholesale and retail sector in the GDP and their actual contribution in tax collection.