The IMF is working with the government of Pakistan to ensure that social spending and protections are kept in place while the country works through its program with the Fund, spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters Thursday (June 13) in Washington.
When asked about criticism by some politicians and media in Pakistan that the program focuses too much on raising revenue through taxes, Rice said “in terms of our discussions, I can say that we are talking about broadly how to restore stronger, more balanced growth by reducing domestic and external imbalances, improving the business environment, strengthening institutions, increasing transparency and importantly protecting social spending.”
Pakistan has struggled to collect taxes from nearly all sectors, and the IMF is working closely with the government to make sure that the burdens are equally shared to help boost revenue and reduce the budget deficit.
“Social spending is and protecting social spending is in fact an important part of the discussion that we are having on a program with Pakistan,” he said.
The IMF sent its condolences to the people of Haiti following deadly violence during street demonstrations last weekend, and stands ready to work with the government on a stabilization program, Rice said.
“Of course, we hope that the dialogue can go forward there and, you know, eliminate the violence that’s taking place and that we can have some consensus around a reform agenda,” Rice said.
The IMF and Haiti reached a tentative agreement for a $229 million USD loan in March, but that may require a re-examination in wake of recent developments.
“Given the changes in Haiti's' economic situation a reassessment of the economic framework and of the measures needed to stabilize and support the economy is going to be needed before we would be in the position to propose a program to our executive board,” Rice told reporters.
“That said, we look forward to engaging with Haiti's new government as soon as feasible to find the best way forward and to protect the most vulnerable groups, improve governance and secure macroeconomic stability,” he added.
For more on Pakistan: https://www.imf.org/en/Countries/PAK