IMF asks govt to carry out long-delayed structural reforms – Newspaper

WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked Pakistan to address its long-standing problems through structural reforms and strengthening institutions through the legal framework to help the economy be competitive.

The government was also advised to strengthen cooperation at the federal and provincial levels for greater fiscal and economic calibration, said IMF Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Region, Jihad Azour, in response to a Dawn Ask at a press conference.

An important clue to the country was "the structural reforms that will allow Pakistan's economy to be more competitive in addressing some of the long-standing problems related to weaknesses," he said.

Azour did not respond directly to a question about the time of the bond's launch. He was asked if, in his opinion, the current zero interest rate environment in capital markets gave Pakistan the opportunity to obtain bonds of $ 3 billion to $ 4 billion, both Islamic and Eurobonds.

He said that Pakistan should "address some of the legacies of the past, such as in the energy sector and also strengthen the institutions that provide the appropriate legal framework for the Central Bank for the electricity sector, as well as other entities."

Azour said that the reform agenda currently in force in Pakistan, supported by the IMF program, was the right recipe for the country to improve macroeconomic stability, address some of the imbalances that the country saw in recent years, allow the Economy be more competitive and improve your solvency.

Mission to visit Islamabad before the end of the month for its first review, says the director of the Fund

He said an IMF mission would go to Islamabad at the end of the month for the first review. “So far, the progress that has been made is going in the right direction. It is too early to make a full evaluation. We have to wait for the mission to go there and do the due diligence work on the ground, ”he said.

"We have now a couple of months, three months almost since the beginning of the program, it seems that things are moving in the right direction."

The IMF director said the reform trip under this program had two important clues. “One is the Macro Stabilization, for which the central bank takes a series of steps on the financial and monetary side and also the ministry of finance on the fiscal side. The other and more important are the structural reforms to allow the economy to be more competitive. ”

Azour said this reform agenda was important for Pakistan, as it would help accelerate growth and provide the right framework for the private sector to function.

Meanwhile, a Pakistani delegation headed by the Prime Minister of Finance's advisor, Dr. Hafeez Sheikh and the State Bank governor, Dr. Reza Baqir, told investors and creditors that Pakistan's reform agenda was paying off .

Dr. Sheikh told the Trade Council of the United States and Pakistan that Pakistan's economy was on the right path to stabilization and that American companies should benefit from the investment opportunities available in the country.

While talking with the members of the US Business Council. UU. And Pakistan (USPBC) at a round lunch table, the financial advisor highlighted the focus of the Pakistani government on improving the ease of doing business and encouraged US companies to expand their presence in Pakistan.

The roundtable was attended by senior executives of USPBC member companies, including S&P Global, PepsiCo, Motorola Solutions Inc, Citi, Google, ExxonMobil and others.

AIIB offers to increase funding Later, the financial advisor along with other members of the Pakistani delegation met with the president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Jin Liqun. They discussed the AIIB portfolio in Pakistan and the possible areas of project financing by the bank.

Supporting Pakistan's development agenda, the president of AIIB said AIIB was ready to increase funds for the country's priority development sectors. He said that investment in infrastructure projects had a positive long-term impact on growth. Dr. Shaikh then invited the president of AIIB to visit Pakistan, which the latter accepted.

Dr. Shaikh and his team also met with the president of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar and informed him about the economic situation of the country. For providing IDB technical and financial support to Pakistan, the financial advisor thanked Dr. Hajjar, who informed him that Pakistan had been identified as one of the first countries to be supported by the bank to strengthen market competitiveness in its sectors. central. For this purpose, an IDB mission is likely to visit Pakistan soon.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the International Financial Corporation, a sister organization of the World Bank and a member of the World Bank Group, as well as the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries, met with the financial advisor and your team.

IFC Vice President Nena Stoiljkovic and her delegation informed Dr. Shaikh about IFC projects in Pakistan, particularly in the wind and solar sectors, and expressed interest in providing advisory services to the country to structure transactions. of public-private partnership.

The delegation of Pakistan also attended the annual plenary session of the IMF and the World Bank Group, to which the President of the World Bank, David Malpass, and the IMF managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, addressed.

Posted on Dawn, October 21, 2019



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