Statement by IMF Director Masood Ahmed at the Conclusion of his Visit to PakistanPress Release No. 13/340
September 14, 2013
Mr. Masood Ahmed, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), visited Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi on September 10–14, 2013, for meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Yaseen Anwar, members of Pakistan’s economic team, leaders of political parties, Chief Ministers of Provinces, members of parliament, academics, civil society, and the media. At the conclusion of his visit, Mr. Ahmed made the following statement:
“It has been a great pleasure for me to visit Pakistan and to have a productive and constructive exchange of views with the Prime Minister, the country’s economic team, political and provincial leaders, and other stakeholders. We discussed the economic issues and challenges facing the country, the government’s economic reform program, and the ways the IMF can best support Pakistan to unlock its abundant economic potentials. I also had enlightening discussions with representatives of the business community, the bankers association, economic thinkers and academics, as well as members of National Assembly and nongovernmental organizations. In my meeting with the Prime Minister, I was impressed by his determination to steer Pakistan toward the ranks of dynamic emerging economies, and we agreed that steady implementation of economic reforms would be key to achieving tangible results.
“This visit was an opportunity to stress the commitment of the IMF to supporting Pakistan’s economic reform program, and the importance that we attach to promoting strong, sustainable, and inclusive growth that could alleviate poverty and improving the living standard for millions of Pakistanis.
“Pakistan is facing serious economic challenges. Overall vulnerabilities and crisis risks are high, with subpar growth and unsustainable fiscal and balance of payments positions. In this context, the authorities’ home-grown comprehensive economic program is timely and welcome.
“To achieve sustained and inclusive growth, short-term macroeconomic measures must be complemented by significant structural and governance reforms. The implementation of the recently announced national energy policy will address the long-standing problems in the sector, which constitute the most crucial constraint on growth and have generated large fiscal costs. In addition, the trade regime needs to be liberalized, public sector enterprises need to be restructured or privatized, and the business climate needs to be improved.
“Protecting the most vulnerable from the direct and indirect impacts of fiscal consolidation and price adjustments is a priority. Coverage and benefits of these programs should be expanded as savings from tariff adjustments and fiscal space are realized.
“The IMF remains fully committed to supporting the authorities’ efforts to implement their economic reforms through financing, policy advice and technical assistance, including through the recently approved Extended Fund Facility arrangement. Firm implementation of the reform measures agreed in the arrangement will be crucial to overcome the economic imbalances, build investor confidence, and move the country on a higher growth path.”