Miftah says IMF’s concerns ‘valid’ over fuel subsidy

ISLAMABAD: Former Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has said that the concerns raised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over the coalition government’s plan to provide “petrol subsidy” to the people of Pakistan are “valid”.

Miftah, while speaking in a TV talk show, said that while the IMF’s concerns are “valid”, but Pakistan, too, has the answer to their query on fuel subsidy.

Last week, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced the government’s plans for fuel pricing last week. While economists fear the decision could hinder a crucial IMF payout needed to prevent economic collapse, the government said that it was a scheme, not a subsidy.

Pakistan’s $350 billion economy continues to dwindle amid financial woes and the authorities struggle to strike a staff-level agreement with the Washington-based lender. The former finance minister said matters with the global lender seem to have come to a standstill.

“The government did everything it could to keep up with the IMF,” he said, adding that there is no plan B other than the IMF in his view.

Miftah, when commenting on securing funds from friendly nations, said that Pakistan must conduct high-level diplomacy with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“At the moment, Pakistan is in dire need of Rs5-6 billion,” he added. Miftah further said that if Pakistan defaults, it will not even be good for the world.

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