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Print Print 2023-06-02

IMF procrastination: MoS Aisha says there is no ‘Plan-B’

  • Minister of State for Finance says agreement on 9th review was delayed because IMF is not ready to reduce external financing requirement to $3 billion
Published June 2, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance, Aisha Ghaus Pasha Thursday said the agreement on 9th review was delayed because the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not ready to reduce the external financing requirement to $3 billion and categorically stated that there is no Plan-B and the government is committed to the IMF programme.

This was stated by the state minister during a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance presided over by Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh on Thursday.

She said that the IMF did not budge from $6 billion external financing needs.

We have requested the Fund to reduce the external financing needs because the current account deficit was significantly curtailed besides other measures, she said.

IMF should not interfere in Pakistan’s political, domestic affairs: Aisha Ghaus Pasha

Additionally, the Fund was informed that the government has arranged $4 to $4.5 billion with $2 billion assurance from Saudi Arabia, $1 billion by the UAE as well as $450 million by the WB and $250 million by the AIIB and release of tranche by the IMF would build market confidence and open other avenues of external financing. However, the IMF did not agree to reduce the external financing needs to $3 billion.

This has been the primary reason for the delay in the staff-level agreement (SLA), the minister added.

After the prime minister spoke to the IMF MD on external financing, now the IMF requirement is budget numbers of the 10th review and we are sharing these numbers with the Fund. We are waiting that they should see these numbers and hopefully, we will move towards a SLA agreement.

She added that there was back and forth on the external financing issue and now the prime minister has spoken to the IMF MD and both have emphasized the importance to complete the ongoing programme.

She said that there is no option under consideration other than the IMF. She categorically stated that no Plan-B was under consideration. The minister said that the government is committed to the IMF programme and there was an understanding between the prime minister and the IMF MD that it is important to complete the ongoing programme.

On the agenda item of the budget strategy paper, the minister of state for finance said as per the Financial Management Act, the Finance Ministry is required to present the budget strategy paper to the committee, however, as the prime minister has constituted eight special committees.

These committees will give proposals for the various sectors and the recommendations of these committees will be part of the budget strategy paper.

Once these recommendations are incorporated and the budget strategy paper is approved, then it would be shared with the committee, said Pasha.

She said that the budget strategy paper would be shared with the committee ahead of the presentation of the budget in Parliament.

The minister said that these committees are working on two aspects –measures to be taken in the upcoming budget to resolve the difficulties faced by these sectors and what vision should be given about these sectors.

Ali Pervez Malik said that the committee should be briefed about the broader framework as how the government, struggling to achieve Rs7.6 trillion revenue for the ongoing fiscal year, would realize Rs9.2 trillion revenue for the next fiscal year.

Would it be by burdening existing taxpayers or bring in new taxpayers, he said the members wanted to know the answer to these questions. He said that the budget strategy paper is an important part of the budgetary calendar and nothing should have caused its delay as per rule and law. He said that only nine days are left in the presentation of the budget and the government has not presented it to the committee.

Nafeesa Shah said that the budget strategy paper was always provided to the committee one month ahead of the presentation of the budget. Upon this, the minister said that these are difficult times and extraordinary circumstances, so the budget strategy paper could not be finalised in time.

She added that as per the PFMA, the budget strategy paper should have been placed on the Finance Ministry’s website by April 15 and the finance minister should have presented it to the concerned standing committee as well.

The Committee has expressed annoyance over the absence of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar with members demanding not to take up any agenda of the government in future if the minister does not turn up.

Soon after the proceedings of the committee started, the chairman of the committee as well as the members noted the absence of the minister and stated that he never attended the committee meetings.

Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha said that at present, the finance minister in a meeting in the Prime Minister’s Office. Finance Minister is busy due to political and economic matters.

The finance minister has not been busy as he was holding meetings with everyone but is not giving importance to the committee, the committee chairman said.

Nafeesa Shah said that the Parliament has enacted contempt of parliament legislation, and the chairman has the power of taking action.

The chairman of the committee said that there was no point in calling the committee meeting if the finance minister does not give any importance to it.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


Comments are closed.

BK Jun 02, 2023 05:26am
For the sake of my country’s future I hope we will default. We need a fresh start
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AmirSh Jun 02, 2023 06:58am
Mark my words today. As long as we have this Financial Czar-Ishaq Dar- No IMF deal!!!
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Yousuf Jun 02, 2023 07:19am
Why you were threatening IMF earlier.
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Tuluka thevidiya Jun 02, 2023 07:53am
What procrastination ? the cheek to DEMAND a loan
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Tulukan Mairandi Jun 02, 2023 08:08am
Why does iron brother china, which has some $3,000 million in reserves give the $3 billion guarantee? How about Ummah Qatar? Kuwait?
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Tulukan Mairandi Jun 02, 2023 08:08am
Plan B is to sell Kashmir to India for $200 billion
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Asadullah KHAN Jun 02, 2023 08:54am
Just a day ago she said that there is plan-B, and now it disappeared, international liar
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Love Your Country Jun 02, 2023 09:18am
@BK, wishful thinking I would say.
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Aamir Latif Jun 02, 2023 09:55am
Every day statement like IMF is the only option.... I may not doubt the intent with level of insight by our minister, but what can't Pakistan try to stand up.. Last mamy months, it's surviving, doesn't matter if economy slows down but where this trough, there is crest too... Only thing is desire to be independent of this loan trap, advocated by our western educated financial and economic gurus
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test Jun 02, 2023 11:53am
Madam! There is always plan B. Pakistan can import cheap oil from Russia instead of expensive oil from gulf countries. Pakistan can import cheap gas from Iran instead of expensive LNG. Pakistan can import vehicles, computers, laptops, smartphones, electrical appliances, medical equipment, chemicals, heavy industrial machinery and weapons from China instead of western countries. Pakistan can do trade in Chinese Yuan with like minded countries such as China, Russia, Iran, Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia etc. It will greatly reduce the dependence on dollar and will move Pakistan towards Chinese Yuan. I give you my word moving towards Yuan is a best approach at least for the near future. Many countries are moving towards Yuan because they don't want to over rely on a single currency. That's why Pakistan must move towards Yuan and cut elite spending on lavish lifestyle of elite class and close assembling plants of foreign companies and start genuine local manufacturing using local resources.
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Aamir Latif Jun 02, 2023 11:56am
@Asadullah KHAN, this creates doubt on the credibility of our financial gurus
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KhanRA Jun 02, 2023 12:09pm
It’s their money. They are right to not trust Pakistan. Every single condition and reform they demand is in Pakistan’s interest.
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KhanRA Jun 02, 2023 12:11pm
@test, this is a pipe dream. Pakistan cannot import massive quantities of Russian oil without risking sanctions. Pakistan already can’t afford western goods and tries to buy Chinese. Our problem isn’t what we buy, our problem is that we can’t sell anything. No one wants what we can make, and our brand identity is toxic. Becoming a Chinese colony will not solve this problem.
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Jani Walker Jun 02, 2023 01:17pm
There never was a Plan B. It is beyond the capabilities of these corrupt elites and crooks to plan ahead. The budget has not been finalised as yet (to be presented on 9 June) and has not passed the committee stage of NA. It is beyond this Dar's capacity to think rationally. He can only obey political orders from London and Boots.
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Rabel Abbasi Jun 02, 2023 02:07pm
@BK, would you elaborate it, sir? How would it be a 'fresh start' for the country?
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R Jun 02, 2023 02:13pm
Officials always have plan B C and D. And most of the time they spend in other plans that is to enrich themselves only.
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R Jun 02, 2023 02:15pm
@BK, you are extremely naive to think that way. Default doesn't give a country fresh start. In fact it submerges a country like Pakistan into 10 times worst situation.
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R Jun 02, 2023 02:16pm
@test, yes but people who control Pakistan don't get their huge cut in between i.e commission and kickbacks.
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test Jun 02, 2023 06:37pm
@KhanRA, Becoming a chinese colony is far far better than going to IMF again and again. Those americans and europeans came to Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan and it resulted in the massive destruction of those countries. Chinese went to Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Phillipines, Indonesia and those countries are now the financial powerhouses of ASEAN. Wherever americans and europeans go they bring massive destruction and wherever Chinese go they brought prosperity, development and local manufacturing to that country which resulted in the uplifting of those economies. Most of the billionaires in those ASEAN countries are chinese and their businesses are employing 100s of millions of people (tens of crores) in ASEAN. Our elite class had made very very poor decisions in the 20th century by not asking Chinese to bring their people and factories to Pakistan because our elite class was interested in dollars to feed to the lavish lifestyle by licking western shoes.
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test1 Jun 02, 2023 06:37pm
@R, Well said bro.
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