Pakistan govt did not consult IMF on fuel subsidy proposal: Country representative


International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed concerns on the fuel subsidy announced by the federal government aimed at easing the burden on the lower-income groups already grappling with runaway inflation.

IMF’s resident representative for Pakistan, Esther Perez Ruiz, has expressed concern about a recent government plan to subsidize lower-income motorists by increasing fuel prices for wealthier drivers.

IMF staff are seeking more information about the scheme’s operations, costs, targeting, fraud and abuse protection, and offsetting measures.

“Fund staff are seeking greater details on the scheme in terms of its operation, cost, targeting, protections against fraud and abuse, and offsetting measures, and will carefully discuss these elements with the authorities,” she said while talking to Bloomberg.

Further, the representative said Pakistan has made significant strides towards fulfilling its policy obligations, which would enable the country to secure billions of dollars in loans and avert a default.

While Pakistan is still grappling with the aftermath of last year’s devastating floods, it is also preparing for upcoming elections, and the IMF funds would offer some relief and help to revive the struggling economy.

“A staff-level agreement will follow once the few remaining points are closed,” Ruiz told.

“Ensuring there is sufficient financing to support the authorities in the implementation of their policy agenda is the paramount priority.”

The country’s efforts include raising taxes and energy prices, as well as allowing its currency to weaken to revive a $6.5 billion IMF loan package.

Ruiz emphasized that securing adequate financing to support Pakistan’s policy agenda was the top priority.

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