Home Latest News Government Aims to Initiate Talks with IMF This Week, Says Finance Minister

Government Aims to Initiate Talks with IMF This Week, Says Finance Minister

Mohammad Aurangzeb stresses on need to adopt bold actions to steer country out of prevailing economic crises

by Staff Report

Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb. Photo courtesy Ministry of Finance

New Finance Minister Mohammad Aurangzeb on Monday confirmed that the government will seek to initiate talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the remainder of the ongoing $3 billion Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) this week.

Speaking to journalists after taking oath of office and attending the federal cabinet’s maiden session, Aurangzeb said he required additional briefings on the economic situation before he could comment further on the IMF program. However, he acknowledged that the current fiscal year would prove “difficult,” and required bold actions rather than mere lip service. He resolved to utilize all his energies toward fixing the economic and financial issues facing Pakistan.

According to daily Dawn, Aurangzeb said he would implement policies already introduced by the interim government, stressing their measures had helped improve economic indicators. He also backed a clear and decisive privatization process, maintaining this was the only means to create required fiscal space.

He said his economic team—which he said was still being formed—would work to minimize government expenditures and enhance revenue collection. On the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), he admitted he had not yet been briefed on the reform measures pursued by the caretaker government. However, he added, any reforms should ultimately lead to an increase in revenue collection.

Aurangzeb also praised the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), expressing confidence that it would aid in the implementation of economic policies. He said that, much like the U.S., the finance ministry and State Bank of Pakistan should adopt a collaborative approach toward maintaining the exchange and policy rates. “I foresee more stability in the exchange rate due to the steady improvement in economic indicators,” he told Dawn, hoping the policy rate would also decline in the coming months.

Aurangzeb is the third banker to hold the position of finance minister, after Shaukat Aziz and Shaukat Tarin. He is a marked departure from previous PMLN governments, which have alternated between Ishaq Dar and Miftah Ismail in recent years. His previous employer, Habib Bank Limited, confirmed his resignation as president and CEO on Monday. The federal cabinet, meanwhile, approved an application allowing him to regain his Pakistani citizenship, which he had earlier relinquished to secure a Dutch citizenship.

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