Miftah Ismail Rules Out Withdrawal of Subsidies Ahead of IMF Talks in Doha

The Minister for Finance, Miftah Ismail, announced today that the nation is paying the price for the wrong policies and agreements that the previous government had signed with international monetary organizations.

He spoke with the media in Karachi before leaving for Doha, Qatar, for talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the resumption of a $6 billion loan program that has been stalled since early April. He ruled out the withdrawal of subsidies on petrol and diesel, and said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had eliminated the possibility of ending the subsidies.

He said the tough conditions of withdrawing the subsidies and imposing a tax on petroleum products are the result of the previous government’s agreements with the IMF. The deal finalized by the last Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin, entailed that Pakistan would have to raise the price of diesel by over Rs. 150 and petrol by Rs. 100, but the incumbent government does not want to carry it forward as it will result in a heavy financial burden on the masses, Ismail explained.

The previous regime had announced a four-month freeze (until 30 June) of the prices of petrol and electricity on 28 February as part of a series of measures to give relief to the public.

Minister Ismail had criticized the previous government for derailing the IMF program, but he has not reversed its decision about subsidies.

He alleged that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had agreed to the conditions with the IMF “deliberately so that I find myself in a difficult position today.”

Minister Ismail remarked that the former Prime Minister Imran Khan had always impeded Pakistan’s development. He blamed Khan’s 2014 sit-in for the postponement of the Chinese president’s visit to Pakistan, and the IMF team was due in Islamabad for talks today but had declined to visit because of the sit-ins.

The minister also expressed hope to be able to reach an agreement with the IMF that will be in Pakistan’s best interest and expects to return to Pakistan with good news.

Faiz Paracha is a seasoned broadcast journalist with over 15 years’ experience in reporting and e...

  • Khud kro to theek , agla karey to ghalat… When PTI in Govt then ap log ny mehengai march ki… ab jab ap govt me agaye to mehengai control nhin ho rahi..

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