Pakistan to revive IMF programme within two days: Miftah Ismail

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Revenue and Finance Miftah Ismail said Monday that the stalled International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Extended Fund Facility (EFF) would be revived within a day or two.

“I am very hopeful that the IMF programme will be revived,” the finance minister said while speaking to journalists as uncertainty over the revival of the fund’s programme has depreciated the rupee against the dollar.

The authorities in the finance ministry were expected to conclude the staff-level agreement by Sunday (June 19) on the basis of revenue and expenditure measures that could deliver next year’s primary budget — the difference between revenues and expenditures, excluding interest payment — in Rs152 billion surplus.

The Fund still has reservations over Rs9.5 trillion expenditures projected by the authorities for the next fiscal year. The revenue measures in the budget, according to IMF estimates, are also insufficient to deliver slightly over Rs7 trillion target.

The government took the toughest measures to end fuel subsidies and hiked the POL (petrol, oil, lubricants) prices up to unprecedented levels in order to convince the Fund to revive the programme. 

However, the IMF is still insisting on doing more knowingly that Islamabad has turned into a “desperate borrower” mainly owing to the depletion of foreign currency reserves.

The finance minister told journalists that the government aims at taxing the wealthy and providing relief to the poor through the budget for the fiscal year 2022-23.

“IMF has no relation with the increase in salaries. Also, the tax exemption to the people earning below 1.2 million [annually] will remain in place,” the finance minister said.