ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha has stated that some understanding has been reached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and that some clearance has also been secured from the prime minister level.
While talking to reporters on the second day of policy-level talks with the fund, the minister of state for finance acknowledged that the IMF wants more clearance on some issues.
Pasha claimed that the discussions with the IMF are moving in a positive direction and the government’s entire focus during the negotiations has been on protecting the common man. In reply to a question, she said that a decision with respect to the rate of increase in the electricity price would be taken later on.
She said that rates would be decided later on as these cannot be increased much because the government wanted to protect the common man.
The minister said that she was confident that the government would ensure that the burden of the programme effects the common man the least and those who can afford to pay should pay more percentage of an increase in electricity cost and taxes if any were imposed.
An official said on the first day, the SBP governor said to have briefed the IMF on external financing before hosting a dinner for the IMF mission. Sources added that the high-ups from both sides informally held discussions on policy-level topics including the budget deficit, external financing, and other key issues.
Sources said that during the technical-level talks, the IMF said to have expressed disappointment over the performance of the power sector and wanted the withdrawal of subsidies to deal with the circular debt and sought the imposition of taxes to bridge the revenue shortfall.
It remains unclear whether any understanding was reached between the Fund and the Pakistan authorities on contentious issues as officials in Finance Ministry remained tight-lipped about the outcome of the second day’s talks. Thursday (today) is the last day of the policy-level talks as per the schedule.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023