Not consulted on petrol subsidy for low-income groups: IMF

ISLAMABAD    -    The Pakistani government did not con­sult the global lender on its petrol sub­sidy for low-income groups, Bloomberg quoted the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as saying on Tuesday.

Esther Perez, the IMF’s resident representative for Pakistan, told the publication that the lender was not consulted on the government’s plan to raise fuel prices for wealthier mo­torists to finance a subsidy for low­er-income people.

“Fund staff are seek­ing greater details on the scheme in terms of its op­eration, cost, targeting, pro­tections against fraud and abuse, and offsetting mea­sures, and will carefully dis­cuss these elements with the authorities,” said Perez. On the staff level agreement, the IMF said that Islamabad has made “substantial progress” in meeting the policy com­mitments required to unlock billions of dollars in loans. “A staff-level agreement will follow once the few remain­ing points are closed,” said Perez told Bloomberg. “En­suring there is sufficient fi­nancing to support the authorities in the implemen­tation of their policy agenda is the paramount priority.” Last week, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had said that the global lender wanted to see countries finalise commit­ments they have promised to help Pakistan shore up its funds before signing off on the bailout package. Paki­stan needs to repay about $3 billion of debt by June, while $4 billion is expected to be rolled over. Pakistan has taken tough measures in­cluding increasing taxes and energy prices, and allowing its currency to weaken to re­start a $6.5 billion IMF loan package.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt