IMF team in Pakistan to review programme progress

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The delegation will remain in Pakistan until September 20.

An eight-member Interna­tional Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation has arrived in Pakistan to review the progress in its programme and hold formal talks with top government officials.

The team is being led by the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia Director Jihad Azour and Mission Chief to Pakistan Ernesto Ramirez-Rigo, Dawn News reported on Monday.

The Pakistan government has stepped up efforts to recover about 85 billion Pakistani rupees additional revenue from the electricity and gas consumers and firm up a road map to bridge gaps in the tax collection.

The visit is being described as "routine" by both sides. A Finance Ministry representative said the delegation is here "to review the programme as per schedule".

On Monday, the team held informal meetings with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Shabbar Zaidi.

The delegation will remain in Pakistan until September 20.

An official said the team will hold marathon meetings with top officials of the Ministry of Finance, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtyar, Planning Commission officials and the Minister of Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar and his team.

The delegation will also meet chairpersons and members of the National Electronic Power and Regulatory Authority (Nepra), Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan before traveling to Karachi to hold discussions at the State Bank of Pakistan and other stakeholders.

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