Pakistan to stay in IMF cycle if taxes not hiked, says Finance Minister

Federal Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb warned that Pakistan will stay in the IMF cycle if taxes are not increased.

In an interview with Financial Times, he said that the “upcoming IMF program will not be our last fund programme if we don’t bring our tax revenues up,”

Aurangzeb maintained that he is hoping Pakistan will reach a staff-level agreement with the IMF this month, estimating the agreement to be worth $6-8 billion.

He acknowledged that the government’s reliance on imports has led to a cycle of debt and borrowing, stressing the need to enhance the country’s ability to repay loans.

The minister also mentioned the lack of trust in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) due to corruption and harassment, stating that people are hesitant to pay taxes due to these issues.

Aurangzeb emphasized that the government must demonstrate positive performance in the next 2-3 months to address the country’s financial challenges.

Earlier, the International Monetary Fund appreciated Pakistan’s tough economic decisions and efforts regarding hike in gas prices.

It is pertinent to mention here that the fund’s delegation, led by Mission Chief Nathan Porter, visited Pakistan and held extensive negotiations from May 13 to May 23 to discuss the country’s economic improvements.

The International Monetary Fund mission assured of its commitment to working together for sustainable economic growth. The statement noted that Pakistan’s economy would stabilize with the support of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program.

Pakistan has successfully met the targets set under the Standby Arrangement Agreement, which will support the forthcoming new loan program.

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