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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has stated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not being fair to Pakistan, adding that the country is in a “a perfect storm” of crises.

Cash-strapped Pakistan is in a race against time to implement measures to reach an agreement with the Fund. The agreement with the IMF on the completion of the ninth review of a $7 billion loan programme — which has been delayed since late last year — would not only lead to a disbursement of $1.2bn but also unlock inflows from friendly countries.

The prerequisites by the lender are aimed at ensuring Pakistan shrinks its fiscal deficit ahead of its annual budget around June.

Pakistan has already taken most of the other prior actions, which included hikes in fuel and energy tariffs, the withdrawal of subsidies in export and power sectors, and generating more revenues through new taxation in a supplementary budget.

Debate in UNSC: FM for monitoring system for crimes against women under occupation

As a last step, the international lender has required Pakistan to guarantee that its balance of payments deficit is fully financed for the remaining period of an IMF programme.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Associated Press on Friday, Bilawal said that Pakistan was facing an economic crisis, the consequences of last year’s catastrophic flooding and terrorism which was “once again rearing its ugly head”.

According to the report, the minister sharply criticised the IMF.

Bilawal said the PPP supported expanding revenue collection and believed those who were well off should pay more, but added that Pakistan had been unable to achieve structural tax reform “for the last 23 IMF programmes that we have been a part of.”

“Is it really the time to nitpick about our tax policy and tax collection while we’re suffering from a climate catastrophe of this scale?” Bilawal asked.

The IMF is not being fair to Pakistan, which is also dealing with 100,000 new refugees following the West’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and “a steady uptick of terrorist activities within our country,” the publication quoted him as saying.

He further said that the IMF was stretching out talks at a time when the country needed money to help the “poorest of the poor”.

“And they’re being told that until their tax reform is not complete, we will not conclude the IMF programme.”

He said that Pakistan was able to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, as well as inflation and supply chain disruptions.

But then last year’s floods devastated the country, he said, calling it the “biggest, most devastating climate catastrophe that we’ve ever experienced.”

Pak-China ties

He further said that Pakistan had a “very healthy economic relationship” with China that was “also in the spotlight as a result of geopolitical events”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Comments

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Az_Iz Mar 11, 2023 04:16am
The country’s economy has run on aid, support from friendly countries, IMF tranches, oil facilities, debt restructuring and remittances. Except for remittances, all other economic strategies are pathetic. It is about time, the country raises enough revenues and increases exports and have financial independence. It is good that IMF is pressing for reforms. The politicians are not going to take the bold decisions on their own.
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Az_Iz Mar 11, 2023 04:44am
For too long the country has been running on loans, aid, oil facilities and so on. You now have a chance to take bold decisions and set the country on financial independence.
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Tulukan Mairandi Mar 11, 2023 09:47am
Is Iron Brother and sisterly Saudi Arabia fair by attaching their loans to IMF, refusing restructuring and charging sky high 7% interest rate (haram riba).
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Yogesh (India) Mar 11, 2023 10:26am
Pakistanese are living in fools paradise. Real game is been played by China. China want to grab oil fields in the middle east.Karakoram highway, gwader port is ready.The day China grabs Pakistans nuclear weapons they will wipe out Pakistan .Economically Pakistan will be forced by China to hand over the keys soon.Mideast will become another China town .Islam will be wiped out as Chinese will not tolerate. It is not America. So Saudia is already feeling the heat. Have to mend its ties with Iran.Now Iran under Chinese influence will tell Saudia how to bow to China.Bejing will slowly become macca of the muslims.
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A. Tahir Mar 11, 2023 11:57am
Just like Waderas not fair to Haris!
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Asad khan Mar 11, 2023 01:29pm
@Yogesh (India), On the other side of the border China will easily capture the sheepish Indian army and wipe off Hinduism from face of the world by capturing Hinduvta mindset.
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Adil Mar 11, 2023 02:24pm
@Yogesh (India), teri Naam aur pata likne ke Kya jaroorat hai? Aadhar aur pan card bhi saat me de dain to acha hota
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Yogesh (India) Mar 11, 2023 03:54pm
Mougals have done same mistake when they invited Britishers and polished their shoes.What happend after is all we knows.Be aware....
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Hujjathullah M.H.Babu Sahib Mar 11, 2023 05:54pm
@Yogesh (India), Though I may not agree with some of your ideas yet most of your points are quite valid given the pathetic attitude of Muslim elites. Beijing may become the Mecca of Muslim elites but not that of the long suffering Muslim masses. Muslim elites never learn the right lessons. In the recent past New York and London were their Mecca and Madinah and we all saw how Muslim masses were sacrificed for their foolish cause on the cheap !
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Sumroo Mar 17, 2023 03:27am
Who would trust corrupt Waderas who failed to take care of flood victims in their own province?
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