ISLAMABAD: The provincial governments have assured the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that they would support and complement efforts of the federal government to adhere to the fiscal framework currently being discussed with the Fund.
At a joint meeting with the visiting IMF mission here on Saturday, the provincial finance ministers said that revenues from taxation had witnessed marked improvement recently. They also emphasised that they were managing their expenditures prudently for better fiscal outcomes.
The provincial finance ministers apprised the mission of various initiatives taken in their respective provinces for resource mobilisation at the sub-national level to cater for increasing developmental and social spending needs.
PM’s adviser on finance and provincial representatives meet Fund’s mission
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, along with Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and the finance ministers of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, held the joint meeting with the IMF mission led by Ernesto Ramirez Rigo and exchanged views on the existing fiscal situation of the country in the context of the Fund’s programme which is currently under discussion.
A finance ministry press release later stated that the IMF mission was encouraged by the shared thinking at the federal and provincial levels, while mission leader Mr Rigo appreciated the updates provided by the provincial governments.
He highlighted the importance of a harmonised system of taxation that would contribute towards increasing economic activities and business growth in the country. The finance minister said that the provincial finance ministers gave their recommendations in the meeting with the IMF mission.
The mission was apprised that the federal and provincial governments were constantly engaged on fiscal matters and the the forums of the National Finance Commission (NFC) Fiscal Coordination Committee (FCC) were being used for ensuring maximum cooperation and coordination among the federal and provincial fiscal authorities.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who holds the portfolio of finance minister, in a brief chat with media personnel, emphasised the need for the federation to bring improvements in its collection of taxes. Mr Shaikh had acknowledged the pressure on provincial governments due to insufficient tax revenues, he said.
He hoped that the situation would improve with the revival in the present sluggish economy, and it was only then, the tax collections would improve. He said Sindh had a higher tax collection rate. “We have to work on the shortcomings of our economy only then we will be able to make things better,” he said.
Following the talks with the IMF mission, Mr Shaikh briefly spoke to media personnel and said that the government would announce appointments to the key posts of the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan and the chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue in a day or two.
“We are bringing people who have shown good performance,” Mr Shaikh said in response to a question.
Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2019