LAHORE: Finance Minister Asad Umar spoke to reporters here on Monday about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan for Pakistan.Umar said conditions for the loan were more important than its volume. “The value of the IMF loan is not critical, the bigger impact if from lending sources which open with the IMF agreement.” The finance minister stressed that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government unlike the previous two governments, had put the least amount of stress on the people. “In the first five months of the PPP government in 2008 inflation rose by 11%, in the first 5 months of the PML-N government it rose by 4%. The first five months of the PTI government saw inflation increase by 0.4%,” Umar stressed.
‘Need to reduce trade deficit’Earlier, Finance Minister Asad Umar said economic matters could not be resolved until the trade deficit is reduced. Addressing a ceremony of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Lahore, the finance minister said, “There is a need for reforms in the energy sector. There needs to be independence to produce electricity and there is a need to improve the system of power supply.” “Net metering system has been introduced in the federal capital and it will be replicated in other parts of the country as well,” the finance minister continued. Umar assured that a simplified procedure of filing tax returns for individuals and entrepreneurs will be introduced in the current year. “Top taxpayers will be recognized in a ceremony which will be chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan to encourage the people to come in the tax net,” he said. “Economic woes cannot be resolved till the trade deficit is reduced,” he added. “We need to change the environment. Cases worth billions of rupees are being heard in courts and we can no longer hide behind a wall,” the finance minister said. Umar further assured to fully facilitate businesses and investors to bolster the country's exports. “The industrial sector has an important role in the economy and steps are being taken to address their problems including those relating to energy,” he added. Further, the finance minister said special economic zones will be set up under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. “Economic Coordination Committee at its meeting on February 5 to deliberate upon early operationalization of these zones,” he stated.