KARACHI: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh asserted on Thursday that the agreed upon deal between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had nothing to do with the already settled National Finance Commission award. He said the lending body had not asked for any reforms for the constitutionally established programme for distribution of revenues between the federal and provincial governments.
While talking to reporters at Governor House after meeting members of the business community, Dr Shaikh referred to serious questions raised by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani who sought explanation from the government regarding an IMF statement about the NFC award.
“The IMF deal has nothing do with the NFC Award,” he replied to a questioner and took a jibe at different statements from political quarters. “There is freedom of expression in the country so we can’t stop anyone from issuing statements. But the matter of the fact is that the IMF deal has nothing to do with our NFC Award, neither have they (IMF) asked us to do anything on these lines.”
Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club earlier in the day, Senator Rabbani said that the government’s agreement with the IMF was a violation of the sanctity of Pakistan’s constitution. He urged the government to clarify its position with regard to the IMF statement about the NFC Award and explain to the people of Pakistan if it would slash the NFC award in violation of the constitution.
Adviser says Pakistan’s economy will improve after implementation of IMF programme
“The IMF in its press release has said that the government has promised to review the NFC Award,” Rabbani said. “The government has promised the lender it will amend the relevant constitutional clause. The new NFC Award could not be kept below the level set by the previous award. The IMF statement has said that they will review the NFC Award as per the agreement with the government.”
Meanwhile, while addressing the business community at the Governor House, Dr Shaikh said that the country’s economy would be improved after implementation of the IMF programme.
Federal Board of Revenue chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi and Sindh Governor Imran Ismail were also present on the occasion.
“The government is taking several measures to improve economic conditions and current agreement with IMF is also one of those measures,” he said. “Through this agreement Pakistan will receive $6 billion on low interest rate from the IMF while we would also get two to three billion dollars from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. These and other measures will help increase tax revenue while finance and monitoring departments will also see some improvement.”
Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2019