Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stated on Monday that he knew how to deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and there was no longer any need for concern.
“From now on, neither Miftah nor anyone else needs to worry about anything,” he said in an interview with journalist Hamid Mir that was broadcast on Geo News.
The government’s decision to not increase the petroleum development levy (PDL) this month without the approval of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was deemed reckless by Ismail in a tweet a day prior to Dar’s statement.
On September 30, the PML-N government announced a five percent reduction in the prices of all petroleum products for the next two weeks. Three days earlier, on September 27, Ismail had resigned as finance minister to make way for Ishaq Dar.
During today’s interview, Dar stated that Ismail was a colleague, but that the two had opposing views on the IMF, as he advised the former finance minister not to worry.
“I know how to do it because I have solutions and have been addressing these issues for the past quarter-century.
“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif himself told me that during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session, where Miftah was also present, he proposed to IMF officials that taxes be frozen, and they agreed,” he said, adding that the people should not be burdened further in light of the floods.
Dar also stated that the “actual value of the Pakistani rupee against the dollar is less than 200” and vowed to reduce it.
IMF accord and PDL
In accordance with the agreement with the IMF, the government was required to progressively raise the PDL on petroleum products to a maximum of Rs50 per liter in order to collect Rs855 billion during the current fiscal year.
The previous PTI government had pledged a monthly PDL increase of Rs5 for petrol and HSD until the prices reached Rs50 for petrol in January and Rs50 for diesel in April.
On March 1, however, prior to the former prime minister’s dismissal, he reduced the PDL to zero. As international prices rose, the PTI government reduced petroleum prices by Rs10 per liter and froze them for four months.
After assuming power in April, the coalition government led by PML-N refrained from raising prices immediately. Nonetheless, since May 15, the government has increased prices in accordance with the IMF agreement. As Pakistan battled the flood catastrophe, the government requested a three-month freeze on the PDL and fuel costs for electricity from the IMF managing director.