Subsidies must benefit Pak poor not rich: IMF

MUNICH: International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has stressed that Pakistan needs to protect the poor and tax the wealthy while ensuring that subsidies are targeting those who really need them, it emerged on Sunday.
In an interview on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Friday, the IMF chief said: “My heart goes to the people of Pakistan. They have been devastated by the floods that affected one-third of the population of the country.
“What we are asking for are steps Pakistan needs to take to be able to function as a country and not to get into a dangerous place where its debt needs to be restructured,” she said.
“I want to stress that we are emphasising two things. Number one, tax revenues. Those who can, those that are making good money [in the] public or private sector need to contribute to the economy. Secondly, to have a fairer distribution of the pressures by moving subsidies only towards the people who really need it.
“It shouldn’t be that the wealthy benefit from subsidies. It should be the poor [who] benefit from them,” she said. “And there the Fund is very clear. We want the poor people of Pakistan to be protected.”
Pakistan held 10 days of intensive talks with an IMF delegation in Islamabad — from Jan 31 to Feb 9 — but could not reach a deal.
The IMF, however, said in an earlier statement that both sides have agreed to stay engaged and “virtual discussions will continue in the coming days to finalise the implementation details” of the policies, including the tax measures, discussed in Islamabad. –Agencies