IMF says Pakistan needs to mobilize tax revenue, cut debt

Khan’s government, like many of its predecessors, has been forced to turn to the IMF to prevent a balance-of-payments crisis. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 22 July 2019

IMF says Pakistan needs to mobilize tax revenue, cut debt

  • Khan’s government faces mounting pressure as rising prices and tough austerity policies

WASHINGTON: Pakistan needs to mobilize domestic tax revenue to ensure funds for social and development programs, while reducing debt, the acting director of the International Monetary Fund said on Sunday after a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The two officials discussed recent economic developments and implementation of Pakistan’s IMF-supported economic reforms, which are aimed at stabilizing the economy, strengthening institutions and paving the way for sustainable and balanced growth, David Lipton said in a statement.
Khan’s government faces mounting pressure as rising prices and tough austerity policies under Pakistan’s latest bailout from the IMF are squeezing the middle class that helped carry it to power.
Lipton said the IMF and other international partners were working closely with the Pakistani government to support implementation of the reforms.
“I highlighted the need to mobilize domestic tax revenue now and on into the future to provide reliably for needed social and development spending, while placing debt on a firm downward trend,” Lipton said in a statement after the meeting.
Khan, who arrived in Washington on Sunday, is due to meet with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday. Trump is likely to press Khan for help on ending the war in Afghanistan and fighting militants.
Last year, Trump cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in security assistance to Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of offering “nothing but lies and deceit” while giving safe haven to terrorists, a charge angrily rejected by Islamabad.
In recent years, import-led consumption has propped up growth in Pakistan and helped hide the problems of an economy riddled with inefficiency and without a strong export base.
But Khan’s government, like many of its predecessors, has been forced to turn to the IMF to prevent a balance-of-payments crisis.
Economic growth, which reached 5.5% in the fiscal year to June 2018, is expected to slow to 2.4% this financial year, according to IMF estimates, barely enough to keep pace with the growth in a population that now numbers 208 million.


UAE central bank further eases liquidity measures for lenders

Updated 09 August 2020

UAE central bank further eases liquidity measures for lenders

DUBAI: UAE monetary authorities further eased liquidity measures for the country’s banks, enabling them to free up more cash to lend to companies and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The UAE government in March launched the $69.707 billion Targeted Economic Support Scheme (TESS), which includes $13.615 billion provided by the central bank via collateralized loans at zero cost to all banks operating in the country.

Monetary authorities are “reviewing the existing thresholds of two prudential ratios: the Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) and the Advances to Stable Resources Ratio (ASRR) by temporarily relaxing the requirements for the structural liquidity position of banks,” a statement from the UAE Central Bank said, as reported by state news agency WAM.

“This step comes as an additional measure encouraging banks to strengthen the implementation of the TESS and support their impacted customers in overcoming the repercussions of COVID-19 pandemic, the statement added.

For the NSFR, mandatory for the five largest UAE banks, lenders were allowed to go below the 100 percent threshold, but not lower than 90 percent, while ASRRs could go beyond 100 percent but not higher than 110 percent.

The purposal of these ratios is to ensure that long-term assets are funded by stable resources of funding, and their relaxation means banks will have more flexibility in managing their balance sheets.

“The relaxation of the two structural liquidity ratios aims to further facilitate the flow of funds from banks into the economy,” UAE central bank governor Abdulhamid M. Saeed said.

“The temporary relaxation of NSFR and ASRR will supplement the other measures CBUAE has taken under the TESS to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on private corporates, small and medium-sized enterprises and individuals.”

UAE banks have accessed about 87.2 percent – or $11.872 billion – of the Dh50 billion TESS support provided by the central bank as of July while 9,527 small and medium enterprises and more than 260,600 individuals have benefited from the scheme.