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KARACHI: Former finance minister Miftah Ismail on Sunday termed the government’s decision not to increase the petroleum development levy (PDL) this month without the approval of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “reckless”.

He maintained, however, that what the previous PTI government did with the country was “unforgivable”. Ismail made the comments in response to PTI leader and former finance minister Shaukat Tarin’s tweet, in which the latter called out the PML-N for its alleged doublespeak.

“We were blamed for violating IMF conditions. According to Miftah sahib, they did not wait to get clearance from MD IMF before announcing the fuel prices. Clear doublespeak,” he tweeted.

At first, Dar cuts fuel prices

In response, Ismail said the PTI government had indeed violated the agreement with the IMF. “You agreed to increase sales tax to 17pc but reduced it to zero. You agreed to raise petrol levy every month by Rs4 to Rs30 but brought it to zero. You agreed to not give amnesty but gave one anyway,” he said, referring to the previous government’s decision to freeze fuel prices for four months. Terming that subsidy “unfounded and unsustainable”, Ismail claimed the PTI nearly bankrupted the country. He added that as finance minister, he had gone to the IMF and saved the country from default.

“Not increasing PDL this month without IMF approval is reckless, but what PTI did with our economy was unforgivable,” he insisted. This was the second time Ismail pointed out in as many days that his government did not get IMF approval before freezing petroleum levy.

Ismail’s comments come days after the PML-N government, for which he served as the finance minister until last week, announced a cut of around five per cent in the prices of all petroleum products for the next fortnight.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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Rebirth Oct 04, 2022 09:21am
Freezing the prices was a mistake. The coffers could’ve gained enough to have a fiscal surplus and the oil companies could’ve benefited too. The growing public transport industry was growing too.
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