IMF lays ‘unimaginable’ conditions for save Pakistan to revive bailout package

After completing technical talks, policy level talks to commence
<p>Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in talks with the IMF delegation on Tuesday. PHOTO: PID/FILE</p>

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in talks with the IMF delegation on Tuesday. PHOTO: PID/FILE

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) asked Pakistan to fulfill promises to impose new taxes in order to revive the $6.5 billion bailout package at times when country’s foreign exchange reserves drops again to $3.1 billion, only enough for less than three weeks of imports.

An IMF delegation, that had landed in Islamabad on Tuesday to revive important financial aid, has now completed technical level talks and now policy level talks will be held by both sides.

The IMF has asked Pakistan’s financial wizards to increase electricity and gas tariffs and to impose 18% general sales tax (GST) along with privatization of loss making state owned enterprises.

The international lender also asked government in Islamabad to ensure audit of government departments and to shun the corruption culture along with easing the tax provision culture.

The IMF delegation, during their technical level talks, stressed for granting equal opportunities for private and government departments to compete.

IMF bailout conditions ‘beyond imagination’

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday said the government would have to agree to IMF bailout conditions that are beyond imagination.

The government has held out against hiking tax rates and slashing subsidies as demanded by the IMF, fearful of backlash ahead of elections due in October.

“I will not go into the details but will only say that our economic challenge is unimaginable. The conditions we will have to agree to with the IMF are beyond imagination. But we will have to agree with the conditions,” Sharif said in televised comments.

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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