Abolishing subsidies was must to prevent country from going bankrupt: Miftah Ismail

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has said abolishing the subsidies on petroleum products till July was imperative to prevent the country from going bankrupt, hinting at another increase in the prices of fuel that whizzed past records earlier this month.

Speaking to a private television channel, the finance minister said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked the government to withdraw subsidies on petroleum products.

Explaining the rationale behind the decision, he said the failure in increasing the prices would presage “destruction” as the global money lender would not ink a deal with the country.

“I have told the prime minister that we have to take tough decisions. The prime minister is unhappy with increasing the prices of petroleum products. Whenever I send a summary in this regard, the ministers curse me,” Miftah lamented.

The finance minister claimed that the government was still giving Rs19 subsidy on petrol and Rs53 subsidy on diesel, adding that Sri Lanka also gave subsidies to its public and it, eventually, defaulted.

“Today, Sri Lanka is purchasing expensive oil and they do not have funds to buy medicines for their people,” the finance minister said as he warned of a similar situation in Pakistan.

He said that once the agreement with the IMF is reached and Chinese banks extend their loan facility to Pakistan, the market will regain confidence.