IMF acknowledges continued improvement in Pakistan economy
"Pakistan's economy is improving, helped by prudent monetary and fiscal policies, strong capital inflows, robust remittances, and lower international oil prices," Masood Ahmed, Director of the Fund's Middle East and Central Asia Department said in a statement upon conclusion of his visit to Islamabad and Lahore from March 6-9.
Ahmed, who met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Ashraf Wathra, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and members of parliament, academics, and the business community during his visit, appreciated that Islamabad has "made progress with consolidating macroeconomic stability, strengthening public finances, and re-building foreign exchange buffers."
As a result, immediate crisis risks have greatly receded, economic growth is gaining strength, inflation is declining, and macroeconomic vulnerabilities are gradually addressed.
"The current improved economic and financial situation presents a unique opportunity for Pakistan to reinforce and build on recent stability gains to work towards achieving higher, sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
This will require further bolstering government revenues through broadening the tax base and improving compliance in order to generate the resources that will allow for further reducing public debt while increasing spending in priority areas such as public investment, health and education."
Ahmed said also noted the importance of a further build-up of international reserves, which will strengthen Pakistan's financial resilience while supporting exports.
"The IMF remains fully committed to supporting the authorities' efforts through financing, policy advice and technical assistance, including through the ongoing Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement.
Firm implementation of the authorities' reform agenda will be crucial to overcome the economic imbalances, build investor confidence, and move the country on a higher growth path, and we are looking forward to a successful conclusion of the EFF arrangement."
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