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November 24, 2018

No hurry for IMF package, Asad tells NA

November 24, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar on Friday made it clear that the government would never succumb to any pressure to sign such an IMF package which is not in the interest of Pakistan’s economy and its people.

“The government is neither in a hurry to sign IMF package nor will it come under any pressure to take any decision which can burden the country’s economy and its people,” the minister while giving a policy statement on floor of the National Assembly (NA) with regard to the government’s engagement with IMF said.

On talks with IMF, he said the Pakistan was not in a hurry for the IMF package as alternative arrangements have been made to address immediate economic needs of the country.

The minister said the government would not take any decision which adds to the difficulties of the people. He informed the House that talks with IMF would continue and only that package would be acceptable which is in interest of the country and its people.

The minister said that Pakistan has already signed an economic assistance package with Saudi Arabia while talks with other friendly countries are underway adding the government would have to take steps to reduce trade, current account and budget deficits.

Asad Umar said that 15.50% increase has been witnessed in the remittances over the last three months saying that overseas Pakistanis have sent additional one billion dollars to Pakistan during this period. “Increase in remittances during the last one month was 30%,” he informed House.

About the prices of petroleum, the minister said the government had substantially reduced taxes on diesel. “Taxes on diesel were over 100% which now have been reduced by many times,” he said.

Asad Umar urged the opposition not to do politics on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it will not augur well for the country. He pointed out that it was for the first time that a government is taking the Parliament into confidence regarding talks with IMF as in the past there was no such practice. “I want to tell those who give us lectures on democracy that democratic system is strengthened only when Parliament is taken into confidence on important national issues,” he said. Taking strong exception to criticism unleashed in his earlier speech by Shahbaz Sharif on the prime minister, he said the opposition leader and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself were expert in taking U-turn.

In this connection, he said Shahbaz Sharif being the Punjab chief minister used to say that he would rip looted money out of Asif Ali Zardari’s belly, hang him for his corrupt practices and drag him on roads.