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Finance minister says govt to go for rollover of deposits

Caretaker Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar, speaking at a press conference in Islamabad alongside other caretaker federal ministers, announced on Friday that the interim government intends to roll over deposits from other countries upon their maturity as part of its efforts to manage foreign exchange reserves and revive the economy.

Addressing the press after a meeting of the Special Investment Facilitation Council, Akhtar emphasized the importance of removing import restrictions “across the board” as Pakistan is an import-intensive country. She noted that the management of foreign exchange reserves is a top priority and stated, “We are closely monitoring the situation.”

When questioned about the inflow of dollars into the country, Akhtar explained that the situation is not “unusual” and highlighted the need to open up imports for industrial revival. She mentioned that exports had declined, and there was a shortfall in remittances, contributing to the current situation.

The finance minister revealed that discussions were ongoing with multilateral development banks, including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, with hopes of fast-tracking the process. She also mentioned an upcoming review by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in November, after which the second tranche of its program with Pakistan is expected, along with tranches from the ADB and loans from the World Bank.

Akhtar shared optimism regarding the total inflows from various sources, estimating it to be close to about $6 billion cumulatively for the full year.

She highlighted the government’s commitment to reviving the economy and mentioned the focus on augmenting the country’s macroeconomic management, with fiscal stability as the anchor. Akhtar emphasized the importance of coordination between fiscal and monetary policies and external policies.

The finance minister also discussed efforts to enhance the social safety net, with a focus on financial inclusion and empowerment for citizens, the agriculture sector, and small and medium enterprises.

In addition to the finance ministry’s plans, Interim Information Minister Murtaza Solangi revealed that federal ministers would hold regular press conferences to provide details on discussions and decisions made during meetings. He highlighted that the recent meeting of the Special Investment Facilitation Council focused on reducing government expenditure, addressing circular debt, promoting foreign investment, improving state-owned enterprises’ performance, and tackling issues such as smuggling and the misuse of international agreements.

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