LAHORE: Former Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said if he came into power in the upcoming general elections, he would support the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in stabilizing the country’s economy.
In an interview with Bloomberg, the PTI chief said he was making strategy to revamp the country’s economy that he foresaw worsening in the coming days.
He said that he expected the PTI to secure a majority in the upcoming elections, which the party had been calling for since he was ousted from the Prime Minister’s office. “We fear Sri Lanka-type situation, so we will have to make policies like never before in the country”, he added.
He said they would not have much time if they got into power. Now, on a query pertaining to sticking with the IMF, with whom the country eventually signed a programme for about $6.5 billion disbursements to Pakistan that remains stalled amid issues related to the lender’s demands, he said: “We have no choice now.”
The IMF has called for fiscal steps to reduce the budget deficit, such as additional revenue commitments, an increase in PDL and GST on petroleum products, and a hike in electricity and gas tariff.
Pakistan’s economy is currently passing through one of its worst phases in history, as the cash-strapped country struggles to attain inflows from bilateral and multilateral institutions while the crucial IMF programme remains in the doldrums.
Moreover, with interest rates already at 17%, inflation hitting 24.5% in December, and dwindling foreign exchange reserves, Pakistan remains in dire need of external financing.
The reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) have undergone significant depletion in recent months, and stand at $4,601.2 million, latest data of the SBP showed.
“We will have to make policies like never before in our country,” Khan said. “We fear a Sri Lanka-type situation,” he said, referring to the default in Sri Lanka.
Imran said he would reappoint Senator Shaukat Tarin as finance minister after he held the post in the previous PTI administration.
In one of his government’s last major move, Imran in February last year announced the slashing of petroleum products’ price by Rs10 per litre and electricity tariff by Rs5 per unit.