Washington: Ahead of crucial talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said on Thursday that the government would not raise electricity tariffs immediately.
The finance minister is in Washington with other senior government officials as part of the sixth and seventh reviews of the IMF’s $6 billion loan program under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
Shaukat Tarin clarified during an interaction at the US Institute of Peace that before raising electricity tariffs, the government will take steps to control inflation in the country, adding that the Pakistani government is in touch with the IMF on the matter.
He said that they are bringing reforms to strengthen the country’s economy. Steps are being taken to privatize some loss-making state-owned enterprises to reduce the financial burden.
The government has put the country’s economy on the right track, he said and expressed hope that Pakistan’s growth rate would exceed 5%. Tarin said that the country will soon get the sixth tranche of the IMF.
The Finance Minister said that he wants friendly relations with both China and the US, adding that Pak-China cordial relations should not have an impact on Pakistan-US relations.
He said that Pakistan-US relations should be seen from an economic point of view rather than just security.
The minister said that Pakistan also wants friendly relations with all neighboring countries including India. He said Kashmir is the root of the dispute between Islamabad and New Delhi.
Talking about Afghanistan, Shaukat Tarin said that the Taliban government in Afghanistan is a reality and Washington needs to understand that Afghanistan needs assistance on humanitarian grounds.
He said that if the world left Afghanistan, it could be hit by the expected chaos, adding that Pakistan would be the most affected country in this situation.
Tarin said Pakistan has addressed 26 of the 27 action items of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
“Pakistan is being punished by some countries,” he said, adding that if it were any other country, it would have been removed from the gray list long ago.