Former finance minister to explain how his IMF terms differed from those agreed upon

ISLAMABAD: Former finance minister Asad Umar said he would speak next week to explain the difference between the terms and conditions he had negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package and those accepted by the new economic team of the government.

This he said after being unanimously elected chairman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. He called the next meeting of the committee on May 22 to seek briefing from the Ministry of Finance on two of the most burning issues — a bailout package from the IMF and an update on compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

He said it was the right of the parliamentary committee to be briefed on the IMF programme, adding that as finance minister it was his commitment to placing all details of the Fund programme before the standing committee. He said he had repeatedly stated that he would not comment on the IMF programme during the course of negotiations but make full disclosure once the deal was signed.

He said that once details of the agreement with the IMF were made public, he would also share with the committee what was the difference between the terms and conditions negotiated by him and what were accepted by the new team.

Mr Umar said he was on record stating that agreement with the IMF must be brought before the committee and decided to convene the first meeting as chairman of the committee on the IMF and FATF as both the matters were of critical importance to the country.

Earlier, the committee unanimously elected Mr Umar as new chairman of the standing committee on finance replacing PTI MNA Faizullah. Many members who briefly spoke on the occasion said they expected Mr Umar to strengthen the committee and make it more effective and hold bureaucracy answerable.

The meeting was told that Mr Faizullah chaired 15 meetings and took up various issues of national importance.

PPP’s Nafisa Shah and Hina Rabbani Khar asked the new chairman to let the committee know whether the terms and conditions discussed by him (Mr Umar) were harsh or those agreed upon by the present economic team.

The special secretary of the National Assembly Secretariat welcomed the members and briefed them on the procedure for election of the chairman and requested Syed Naveed Qamar to propose the name of the next chairman. Mr Qamar proposed the name of Mr Umar as chairman of the committee, while Sardar Nasrullah Khan Dreshak seconded his candidature. Thus, Mr Umar was unanimously elected chairman of the Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs.

The special secretary congratulated the newly elected chairman on behalf of the speaker and secretary of the National Assembly and assured him of full support from the secretariat for effective and efficient functioning of the committee.

Mr Umar expressed his gratitude to the members for posing confidence in him and assured them that he would run the business of the committee with consensus. The members appreciated views of the chairman and assured him of their fullest support in running its business and process of legislation.

The meeting was attended by MNAs Raza Nasrullah, Faiz Ullah, Makhdoom Syed Samiul Hassan Gillani, Sardar Nasrullah Khan Dreshak, Faheem Khan, Aftab Hussain Siddique, Mohammad Israr Tareen, Ali Pervaiz, Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Nafisa Shah, Syed Naveed Qamar and Hina Rabbani Khar, besides senior officers of the National Assembly Secretariat.