- Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha says the government is not thinking about anything without IMF programme
ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha on Wednesday said the prime minister and the ministry of finance are in total commitment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme and “we are not thinking anything without the Fund programme.”
She stated this while responding to the questions of the media after the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance.
In response to a question as to what would be the government’s future plan in case the talks with the IMF fail, she said there is always a Plan-B but the government is not thinking about anything without the IMF programme.
The minister said the prime minister has assured the IMF Managing Director that Pakistan would implement all the conditions of the programme. The MD was also conveyed that the delay in the programme is neither in the interest of Pakistan nor in the Fund’s, so there is a need to make a decision at the earliest. When her attention was drawn towards the recent statement of the IMF’s Mission Chief Nathan Porter, she said the statement was interference in the political affairs of Pakistan.
She added that “Porter should not have interfered in political matters as far as I know the IMF usually does not say such things.” The minister added that nothing to this effect was officially communicated to Pakistan.
The minister stated that she was not aware as to what exactly was stated by Porter, however, if he has stated this, it is something extraordinary. Pasha said that “We are moving ahead as per the rule of law and we want democracy to flourish and all the institutions to work as per Constitutional parameters.”
She said that budget preparation is going on as per the budget calendar year with the planned presentation to the National Assembly on 9th June 2023 and the prime minister is also holding meetings in this regard. We are in the IMF programme and are constantly engaged with the Fund. The minister added that the budget is being prepared in accordance with the IMF programme and numbers have also been shared with the Fund.
The government wants to bring about economic stability while being in the IMF programme and without putting more burden on the common man. We have very hopeful that an understanding with the Fund on staff level agreement would be reached before the budget. When asked whether the government was considering to take another programme from the Fund after the expiry of the existing one by the end of June, the minister said that there is a need to first complete the ongoing programme and after that, it would be decided which way we have to move. She said the IMF does not discourage targeted subsidies and the government also wanted to provide targeted relief. She said that completing the IMF programme is in the nation’s interest. When asked about the finance minister’s statement in a recent programme and whether he was taken into confidence by the prime minister before his phone call to the IMF MD, she said that the economic team was on board and the prime minister represents the entire government and the talks with the IMF MD were held with clarity.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023