US says Pak must honour its commitment to IMF on new tax measures

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Karachi, Nov 30 (ANI): The United States and donor agencies want Pakistan to honour its commitments on new tax measures, US Coordinator for Economic and Development Assistance to Pakistan, Robin Raphel, has said.

Raphel made these comments at a media briefing on the US development initiatives after interacting with a delegation of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a major coalition partner, which is an outspoken opponent of the reformed general sales tax (RGST).

Answering a question over the controversial tax measures, she said that looking at Pakistan's finances, the government had to do something to enhance and broaden its revenue collection.

"There are lots of ways to do that but Pakistan now has an agreement with the IMF which calls for this reformed GST and since it is our position that countries, whether Pakistan or anybody else, should live up to their international agreements, we would like to see this legislation passed," the Dawn quoted Raphel, as saying.

"We and all the donors are very keen that Pakistan is able to stay in its arrangement with the IMF because that it is very important and will facilitate our argument in the Congress for providing funds for Pakistan," she added.

About transparency and accountability in the disbursement of the 7.5-billion-dollar US aid over a period of five years, she said that the US had set up a series of benchmarks and safeguards in each project in order to track the money.

"Before we can provide funds directly to any institution they have to go through a kind of audit by a third party that we retain to see how they do their accounting and see what issues that might be with their practices," Raphel said.

She added that these measures were meant to ensure that the funds were going in a special account, whether at the federal, provincial, or the district level, and were not blended with the budget of the government.

"So we believe that we can track the fund." Raphel emphasised. (ANI)

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