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May 12, 2019

Imran calls meeting on IMF, amnesty scheme tomorrow

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May 12, 2019


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned a meeting on Monday for a briefing on talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and amnesty scheme.

The Government of Pakistan and the IMF will continue talks over the weekend. The two sides held talks in the federal capital on Friday after which the Finance Ministry said they had made good progress in their discussions. Sources in the Ministry of Finance had earlier informed that Pakistan and IMF were close to finalising a staff level agreement expected to range between 6-7 billion dollars.

Under the proposed bailout agreement Pakistan would have no choice but to concede to the IMF’s demands to hike power tariff and taxes and withdraw tax concessions and exemptions which are among the conditions that the country has accepted to secure the loan. Both sides also resumed talks for a second day on Saturday. According to the finance ministry sources, the government would increase the tariff of electricity and gas for the consumers in two phases this year. New taxes amounting to Rs700 billion would be revealed in the budget for the next fiscal year, to be announced on June 11. The budget deficit would be restricted to 4.5 per cent, whereas the revenue target for the Federal Board of Revenue would be set at around Rs5.3 trillion. The interest rate would be brought up to 12 per cent.

Under the proposed agreement, the government would not control the rate of the dollar, and subsidies in the energy sector, as well as other sectors, would be withdrawn. Furthermore, the plan to privatise institutions incurring losses would be shared with the IMF. The IMF and the Ministry of Finance would release a joint press statement if the agreement is finalised. If no agreement is reached, both the sides would issue separate press releases, the sources had added. Meanwhile, in a statement the finance ministry has urged the nation not to heed baseless news about the government’s ongoing talks with the IMF for a bailout.

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