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ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail stated Monday that the government would consider duty-free import of essential commodities and might allow import from India as well in case of shortage following recent floods.

He said this in response to a question during a press conference that prices are expected to rise due to damage to crops as a result of the floods. He said that the government would consider duty-free import and if the need arose, it might allow import from India. He said this is an extraordinary/unusual situation.

The finance minister said that former finance minister Shaukat Tarin should quit politics and Taimur Saleem Jhagra should resign as provincial finance minister and former prime Minister Imran Khan should apologise to the nation for trying to jeopardise the revival of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

Tarin gave instructions to the provincial ministers for writing a letter with regard to KPK and Punjab’s inability to create a budget surplus as agreed with the IMF.

This was exposed by the leaked audio of the conversation between Tarin and Mohsin Leghari. Leghari wanted to know whether this will harm the country, he said adding that Tarin had agreed with the IMF to impose every month Rs4 per litre petroleum levy besides increasing sales tax.

Imran Khan asks Miftah to seek relief from IMF

However, he after coming to power did not impose sales tax on petroleum products and the country preferred national interest over politics. Ismail also wanted to know what the former prime minister had done for the people during his three and half year tenure other than adding debt.

Ismail said that what was the point of writing a letter to him 72 hours before the meeting of the IMF Executive Board and when he checked with the Fund the letter was also reached to the Fund.

He said that total recruitment in Fata districts at the time of merger was 34,500 which was increased by creating 54,000 additional posts without consulting the federal government and now Finance Ministry is seeking details and justification for creating the additional posts.

He said that the federal government has given Rs113 billion instead of Rs95 billion.

He said that the now KP government is asking about the NFC meeting and why the provinces were not given a share from the NFC during the last four years.

Rs349 billion NHP and Rs339 billion have already been paid to the province, he added.

He said this is now an open secret that this was being done at the instruction of the former prime minister.

The finance minister further stated that his party’s priority was to save the country from default for which the prices of petroleum products were to be raised at the first step and subsequently, other prices as well because the previous government financially mismanaged.

Ismail added that for the last four days, the prime minister has been meeting the flood victims and visited Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and announced funds for the flood victims despite the fact that the country’s resources are limited. He said that crops have been destroyed and when the country was facing floods Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf(PTI) has been doing such things to harm the country. He said that the former prime minister preferred politics over the country and the PTI has crossed all the lines.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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