Business News

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Shaukat Tarin Monday said that all things have been settled with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for revival of $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and a formal agreement is expected in a day or two. Talking to media after addressing as chief guest at the launch of the Pakistan Single Window (PSW), the adviser said he was expecting agreement to be signed in a day or two and not next week. He said that there is only one issue that required legal opinion. The adviser explained that over some clauses of previous agreement of the SBP, constitutional amendment is required and the government does not have two-thirds majority to make it happen. This, he said, was explained to the IMF and the Fund has agreed, and now the two sides are working on these clauses. He said that US$ 500 million was taken by his predecessor and everything was left on him to handle. In reply to another question, he said soon there would be good news about providing targeted subsidy to the low-income but does not have any control over global prices. He said that financing of Roshan Digital Account (RDA) would be reflected in the fiscal deficit and treated as below the line. He said that a neighbouring country was involved in cyber-attacks on a government bank. Earlier, addressing the event, the adviser on finance said that the PSW is one of the most ambitious, wide-ranging and comprehensive reforms initiatives undertaken in the public sector in recent years. This, he said, was not only designed to facilitate Pakistan international trade but also aims at accelerating digital transformation of the public sector agencies connected to international trade. Tarin added that importance of external trade for the growth of any economy cannot be denied and growth in trade has direct correlation with the growth in GDP and subsequent achieving of sustainable and inclusive economic growth for everyone in Pakistan. “Our government came to power with the slogan of change and reform and improving the framework of transparency and accountability by leveraging technology for seamless smart solution for business and governance,” he said, adding that the PSW is a key tool and enabler for improving governance and bring about much-needed regulatory and procedural reforms in the country cross border trade. The adviser on finance continued that the concept of PSW and its framework is the embodiment of this government’s vision of deep meaningful reforms impacting all sectors and every aspect of government, promoting trade competitiveness with enhanced transparency and efficiency. He said that the last two years have been difficult for the global supply chain as international trade and transportation got affected by the disruption caused due to the Covid pandemic, resulting in manifold increase in cost of production and shipping. As the global economy starts to recover from the worst, Pakistan and Pakistan’s businesses have to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities. The government’s priority is to facilitate businesses including SMEs by providing a suitable enabling environment for growth and innovation and improving their competitiveness by reducing their time and cost of doing business, he said, adding that the PSW will provide a comparative advantage to Pakistani businesses and trading community to enter new markets and enhance exports. Tarin said the government is actively pursuing the agenda of making Pakistan a hub of regional trade and transit. In this regard, he said a major milestone has been achieved by operationalising the TIR agreement and dispatch of transit consignments to Uzbekistan and Turkey. The PSW will boost this effort of regional connectivity by effective use of ICT technologies, ensuring enhanced facilitation for trading across borders, added the adviser. Tarin said that countering financial crimes and trade-based money laundering is one of the key priorities of the government. He said that no system can be successful unless it has ownership from the stakeholders and beneficiaries. He said that broad-based collaboration and support from Pakistan’s development partners including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the USAID, and IFC was provided, and development partners continue to provide, technical assistance and support to the PSW as well as to the other ministries and departments, who have accepted and embraced the changes triggered by the implementation of the new system. Chief Executive Officer of PSW Aftab Haider formally welcomed the participants and shared a presentation on the scope and mandate of the organisation. The PSW will help transform the trade and it will significantly help in ease of doing business in Pakistan, he added. “This project will help reduce the time and cost of doing business in Pakistan, and it will unlock the country’s potential to become a hub for regional and international trade and transit,” stated USAID Deputy Mission Director David Young at the inauguration. He added that by making trade simpler, the Pakistan Single Window will help to unlock Pakistan’s economy.