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Pakistan, IMF officials resume talks as govt intend to take more tough measures to get loan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s economic team and IMF officials held an important meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday morning, resuming much-awaited talks for the resumption of stalled IMF bail out package.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is leading Pakistan side while Nathan Porter is heading the IMF team.

According to finance ministry officials, both the sides discussed the implementation of the IMF conditions linked with the approval of the ninth review and disbursement of $1.1 billion tranche.

The governments and IMF talks will continue till Feb 9 and both the sides will sign an agreement after developing a consensus on the programme.

Last week, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had said that the government and IMF will sign the agreement within this month for the resumption of loan. This development, however, seems impossible as the government and IMF have resumed talks on Jan 31, the last day of the current month.

Pakistan government had already enforced the two harshest conditions of the IMF _ free float of Pakistani rupee versus dollar and increase in petrol prices _ Rs35 per liter in the prices of petrol/diesel from Sunday (Jan 29), two days ahead of the resumption of talks with IMF.

Meanwhile, the remaining IMF conditions are increase in gas, electricity tariffs, restriction-free opening of Letters of Credit (LCs) for imports, increase in taxes to generate more revenues, and elimination of subsidies.

It is believed that the government would have to take more tough measures for consumers to address a circular debt of over Rs2.5 trillion in the power sector, increase in taxes and cut in expenditure to bridge a Rs2 trillion fiscal hole.

According to official sources, 30% people were already leading a miserable life with below poverty line and 22% more would become vulnerable to extreme poverty in the wake of massive hike in inflation when the government puts in place all the conditions of the IMF.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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