UK wants reforms across sectors for continued aid payment to Pak

Islamabad, Nov 15(ANI): The United Kingdom has urged Pakistan to come up with credible and irreversible plans for reforms across sectors, including power, for continued growth in aid payment.

"Britain stands ready to increase its support to Pakistan as part of the aid review, but this will be dependent on a commitment to put in place much-needed reforms," the Nation quoted Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, as saying.

"If Pakistan takes this opportunity to grasp the nettle of reform as it is starting to do, then it has the chance to come back stronger," he added.

Mitchell is currently in Islamabad to attend the Pakistan Development Forum (PDF).

Pakistan Finance Secretary Salman Siddique however rejected out of hand efforts by foreign countries to impose conditions on how it spends aid.

"That is not acceptable," Siddique said.

Siddique said that Pakistan has already submitted a bill to introduce a VAT for the first time, and has imposed a 10 percent flood tax on the incomes of the wealthy.

The PDF is being held to improve the macroeconomic indicators in the country.

Sources had earlier said that there was a strong feeling in the member countries of Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) and International financial institutions (IFIs) that no one in the government was serious about working to improve the economy.

"Friends of Democratic Pakistan, including the US, and international financial institutions mainly IMF, WB and ADB are quite upset as to why the top leadership of the country and the government functionaries of the economic ministries are not serious to increase resources, mobilisation through implementation of tax reforms and plugging the massive bleeding of Rs 226 billion in power sector annually and Rs 250-300 billion in loss making seven to eight public sector entities," the source had said.

"We want a clear cut, unambiguous and practical plan of action to achieve the budget deficit of 4.7 percent by cutting the expenditure and increasing the revenue," a diplomat from an FoDP member country added. (ANI)

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