KARACHI: Days ahead of a high level visit from the IMF, the key lending institution has once again underlined that the main aim of its programme with Pakistan is to increase revenue so the government can support higher spending on the social sector as well as development projects.

The fund has also asked the government to prioritise debt reduction. The message was delivered to Prime Minister Imran Khan personally by acting Managing Director of IMF David Lipton during the PM’s last visit to Washington.

This was stated by the IMF’s spokesperson, Mr Gerry Rice, during a routine press briefing in Washington on Thursday. Mr Rice was responding to a question about cutting subsidies and development spending to keep the primary deficit under control.

“One of the key elements of the programme that the IMF is supporting in Pakistan” Mr Rice replied, “is the need to mobilise domestic tax revenue to fund much needed social and development spending while placing debt on a firm downward trend.

And this was actually something that our acting Managing Director, David Lipton emphasized in his recent meeting a short time back with Prime Minister Imran Khan. Let me add that we expect an IMF team to be in Pakistan in the next few days, including our Director for that area, Jihad Azur will be there.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2019