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Advisor to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has said that federal government has cut a "better" deal with International Monetary Fund (IMF), clarifying that deal has nothing to do with country's National Finance Commission (NFC) award.

Flanked by Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Syed Shabbar Zaidi and Governor Sindh Imran Ismail, Hafeez was talking to media persons after meeting with members of business community at Governor's House here on Thursday.

Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Wavda and Minister for Ports and Shipping Ali Zaidi were also present.

Hafeez said the government has struck a USD 6 billion deal with the IMF on low interst rates. "We are looking forward to borrowing USD 2-3 billion from the World Bank and Asian development bank to ease the economic situation of the country," he said.

He said the government is striving to improve the tax collection system.

Sharing details of upcoming federal budget, the Finance Advisor informed that the government would allocate around 700 billion rupees to development programs in the next budget while allocation for social security program will be increased by Rs 80 to 180 billion.

Dr said country's economy would improve after implementation of the IMF program.

He said undeclared assets would be legalized through the amnesty scheme. "We want to have a documented economy and amnesty scheme would give chance to the holdres of black money to whiten it after paying 4 percent tax to government," finance advisor said.

Hafeez said the owners of undeclared offshore assets would be required to pay 6 percent under the amnesty scheme.

Talking about the economic situation of the country when the current government came to power, Hafeez said the state of the country's economy was in tatters.

Prices of gas units will see an increase but the financial advisor ensured that the new prices will not affect 40% of the consumers, he also spoke about a meeting which was held between representatives of the state and the businessmen.

Sheikh added that they were trying to make the country more viable to new business opportunities and investments, he also said that the losses to the economy can be minimized by curbing expenditures. "People are well aware of our will and determination," Sheikh opined.

Touching upon the appointment of Reza Baqir as the new Governor of State Bank Hafeez said that he is a well recognized figure in the economic world. Hafeez also talked about the 'Ehsas Program' initiative being undertaken by the government, the program is being developed for the poor of the country.

Talking about the impending budget announcement Sheikh said: "The budget has been made bearing in mind the difficulties being faced by the people, we will try and put the least amount of burden in terms of taxation and I must also emphasize curbing expenditure," added Sheikh.

"No new taxes worth mentioning are being added, the federal budget will be announced by 10 or 11 June," said Sheikh.

On this occasion, Chairman FBR said that amnesty schemes has been fully supported by the entire business community.

Governor Sindh Imran Ismail said that the incumbent government wanted to address the problems of trade community and Sindh Industrial Liaison Committee has been formed in this regard.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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