IMF Remains Concerned Over Pakistan Relief Package

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed concerns over the financial impact and financing sources of the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s relief package on electricity and petroleum prices.

The Dawn newspaper reported that the international body was left unconvinced by the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) government’s justifications for a recently announced amnesty scheme.

The Pakistani publication said the IMF’S mission and the Pakistan government authorities are unlikely to conclude the ongoing seventh review of the USD 6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) shortly.

The IMF staff mission raised more questions on the estimated impact of relief measures announced by the government and their financing guarantees, Dawn report said.

The newspaper said the mission was dissatisfied with the arguments advanced in favour of the money-whitening scheme for the industrial sector.

“We also reaffirm our commitment to not granting further tax amnesties (continuous structural benchmark) and avoiding the practice of issuing new preferential tax treatments or exemptions,” said Pakistan Finance Minister Tarin and State Bank Governor Dr Reza Baqir in a written undertaking.

Pakistani media reports said the discussion between the Pakistan government and IMF was originally targeted to be completed by March 14 but were extended as differences remained.

The discussions on the seventh review of the USD 6bn Extended Fund Facility started on March 4. The IMF had been concerned over the “one step forward, two steps back” approach of the government on critical reforms having serious budget implications, according to Dawn. (ANI)

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