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Bring IMF conditions before parliament: Sherry

National

May 5, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate Sherry Rehman on Tuesday demanded that PTI-IMF conditions be laid before the parliament.

“After telling them all along that these tariff hikes are unjustified, now we hear that the government is thinking to renegotiate the IMF agreement. We have been saying the exact thing but were always told by ‘U-turn Sarkar’ that they are on the right track,” she said and added that as always, the parliament has not been taken on board on any policy, either now or earlier. “What exactly is their plan?” she asked.

She said if the government has already agreed with the IMF to increase the petroleum levy from Rs 510 billion in 2021 to Rs 607 billion in 2022 and increase the gas tariff by an additional Rs 100 billion, how they plan controlling inflation in the country. “Are they going to compensate people for all the jobs lost and the families destroyed,” she asked.

She said since the last two years, the per unit price of electricity has gone up by 200% and now finally the government has woken up to realise that the increase in the electricity tariff was indeed unreasonable. “Since the day one, we warned the PTI government that IMF policies would burden the poor but no one paid any heed and now, after leaving Pakistan’s economy on the ventilator, the PTI government realises that IMF tariffs are “unjustifiable”. “We have never seen anything like this before,” she added.

Addressing the increasing inflation in the country, she said it is shocking that Pakistan's inflation rate for April has skyrocketed to a whopping 11.1%, which is even higher than the projection given by the Ministry of Finance. “This inflationary spiral caused by the government is condemnable,” she said.

Senator Sherry Rehman said “Tabahi Sarkar” has lost control as the economy is on ventilator, people are struggling to buy ration for Ramazan and the vaccination drive is abysmally slow as vaccines have not been ordered. “Debt and poverty in the country are increasing at an astonishing rate. What is the government's plan on creating more jobs and reducing the public debt?” she questioned.

She said: “Our agriculture sector has been neglected and now the food inflation hovers around 15% which is the highest in South Asia. “Prices of chicken have shot up by 100%, sugar 18%, wheat 17% and oil 19%. Is this the way to provide relief to people in Ramazan? Over the past 2.5 years, the price of sugar and wheat has gone up by 100% which is unprecedented in the history of Pakistan,” she said, adding that there have been five big petrol hikes already in 2021, and now another petrol bomb is expected next month. Despite the petrol crisis report 2020, the government is silent. “What happened to accountability or is that only reserved for the opposition,” she asked.