Thursday June 13, 2024

Talks with IMF being held in Doha due to PTI’s Azadi March

Miftah Ismail says the SBP may have to increase the policy rate today

By Web Desk
May 23, 2022
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail taking to media in Karachi before leaving for Doha for talks with IMF. Screengrab
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail taking to media in Karachi before leaving for Doha for talks with IMF. Screengrab

KARACHI: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Monday said that the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are being held in Doha, Qatar due to the PTI’s Azadi March as they refused to come to Islamabad citing the security situation.

Miftah Ismail also categorically rejected former finance minister Shaukat Tarin’s claim that the Shahbaz Sharif-led coalition government had sought his expertise to improve the economy but he turned down the request.

Talking to journalists in Karachi, Miftah Ismail said, “We do not need any help from you [Shaukat Tarin]. We do not need any help from a person who had planted landmines and destroyed the economy.

A day earlier, Shaukat Tarin had claimed that the government had sought his help to lift the economy but he rejected the request. Tarin was of the view that he would not offer his expertise until a caretaker setup is installed and the date for new elections is announced.

Responding to a question, Miftah Ismail hinted at raising the interest rate. His remarks came hours before Pakistan’s central bank is scheduled to meet today (Monday) to announce its key policy rate for the next six weeks to maintain the balance between inflation and economic growth.

He said that he was going to Doha as talks with the IMF have entered the final stage. Replying to another question, the minister said that they will continue subsidies for another one and half months.

Criticising the PTI-led government, Ismail said that Imran Khan has always preferred his personal politics over national interest.

Ismail said tough conditions of withdrawing subsidies and taxing petroleum products are the outcome of agreements of the previous government with IMF.

He said as per agreements of the PTI government, the diesel price is to be increased by 150 rupees per litre and petrol by 100 rupees per litre but the present government does not want to carry it forward as it will result in a heavy financial burden on the masses.

He said Imran Khan has always created impediments in the path of development of the country. He said Imran Khan's 2014 sit-in caused the postponement of the Chinese president's visit to Pakistan and today IMF team that was due in Islamabad for talks has declined to visit because of Imran Khan's sit-ins.

The finance minister expressed the hope that in the next two days he will succeed in having an agreement with IMF in the best interests of the country and the people.

Reacting to the PTI’s call for Azadi March, the minister said that Imran Khan’s long march is aimed at saving Farah Gogi from the accountability process.

He held the Imran Khan government responsible for the ongoing shortage of fuel and LNG and coal in the country. The minister accused Punjab’s former chief minister Usman Buzdar of selling 20 licenses of cement factory.

He further said that Imran Khan brought the country’s economy to the brink of disaster and added that he could never be sincere with the country. Ismail said that he could not bring even 10,000 people to Islamabad.