Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan is likely to receive financing assurances from friendly countries in the coming days, which will help unlock the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.
Talking to the media at the ‘US-Pakistan Diaspora and Private Sector for Flood Recovery and Rehabilitation’ conference, the minister said, “We have fulfilled almost all conditions, which the previous government had agreed upon with the IMF and currently, the Fund is demanding confirmation from the friendly countries that are providing assistance to Pakistan”.
He also said, “We are hopeful that the confirmation will be received in the coming few days, and after that, the IMF deal will come on track”.
In response to a question about the IMF’s reported objection to the government’s fuel subsidy for the poor, Ahsan Iqbal clarified that this is an internal adjustment within the fuel price and that no new subsidies are being announced. He expressed hope that the IMF will not object to the move.
The minister also urged the US-Pakistan Diaspora to join the government’s efforts to aid in the recovery and rehabilitation of millions of flood-affected people.
Pertinently, the federal government recently announced that it will provide a subsidy of Rs. 50–100 per liter to low-income citizens as part of a petroleum relief package. In this regard, the IMF’s Resident Representative Esther Perez Ruiz said on Monday that the lender was not consulted about the government’s plan to raise fuel prices for higher-income citizens to make room for the subsidy.
“IMF staff is seeking more information about the scheme’s operation, cost, targeting, fraud and abuse protections, and offsetting measures, and will carefully discuss these elements with authorities,” she added.