PM reiterates IMF seeking hard steps

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday reiterated that the country was facing substantial financial chal-lenges, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “combing every book” during the ongoing negotiations over the ninth review of the $7 billion loan programme.
The IMF delegation, headed by Nathan Porter, and the government began the make-or-break discussions last week. Pakistan needs to complete the review to stave off default.
Subsequently, the government had increased liq­u­efied petroleum gas (LPG) price by 30 per cent and finalised a min-imum of Rs6 per unit average increase in electricity rates between now and August.
Over the weekend, the premier said the IMF delegation was giving a “very tough time” to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and his team.
Addressing the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Assembly on the occasion of Kashmir Solidarity Day in Muzaffarabad yesterday, PM Shehbaz again said that the Fund was scrutinising the records of various ministries and reviewing “eve-rything” and “every subsidy”. “The IMF is looking critically at every book, be it petroleum, finance, commerce or the power sector,” the premier said. “They are looking at each and everything. Every subsidy.”
The prime minister shed light on how the country has been on a “begging spree”, calling for it to be stopped once and for all.
“We have to stay alive but only how alive nations live and not by begging,” he said. “This has been going on for 75 years. We have to put a stop to this.” The premier vowed to break “this habit of begging” that country was embroiled in. “This will stop when the entire nation [stands] united to fight inflation and vows to produce their own resources,” he said.

“It was very easy to say so but doing it was harder. We deliver speeches but after an hour I forget what I had said.”