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Pakistan Needs USD 9 Billion to Meet Current Account Deficit: Finance Minister Asad Umar

The finance minister said that it was not yet decided to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for loans to overcome the current situation.

PTI

Updated:August 31, 2018, 8:16 PM IST
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Pakistan Needs USD 9 Billion to Meet Current Account Deficit: Finance Minister Asad Umar
Image for representation. (Reuters)
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Islamabad: Cash-strapped Pakistan needs USD 9 billion to meet the current account deficit, but no decision has been taken to approach the IMF for loans, the country's new finance minister Asad Umar said on Friday.

Pakistan is passing through tough economic circumstances. Its debt in the last 10 years has spiralled to Rs 28 trillion, and the new Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government faces the challenge of turning around the economy.

Umar after winning the July 25 elections had said that the country needed USD 12 billion urgently.

"The number that we need to borrow, according to the budget, is USD 9 billion. But we are trying to address the root cause that compels us to borrow these USD 9 billion," Umar said, while responding to question in the Senate, the upper house of Parliament.

He said that measures being contemplated to improve the country's economy will start bearing fruit in two or three years, and in the meantime, the country would borrow.

The Minister said that government was also working on a plan to bridge the gap.
"As soon as our plan gets finalised, which it should be within one to two weeks, we will present in before the parliament, and then we will also seek suggestions from the National Assembly and Senate to improve it further," he said.

The finance minister said that it was not yet decided to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for loans to overcome the current situation.

Umar also said that tax reforms strategy will be introduced by the government to increase tax base in the country.

He said currently one million people were filling their tax returns which can be enhanced to three million.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan will chair a high-level meeting on Monday to discuss issues relating to currency smuggling and money service providers.

"We have to take definite actions before the next meeting of FATF (Financial Action Task Force)," he said, and expressed confidence that Pakistan will come out of the FATF grey list by meeting its obligations.

The minister also said that the government had decided to launch Diaspora and Sukuk bonds to generate crucial resources from Pakistanis setlled abroad.
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