Muzzammil warns new IMF deal to open a floodgate of inflation

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Muzzammil warns new IMF deal to open a floodgate of inflation

DNA

ISLAMABAD: Advisor on Finance to Chief Minister Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Muzzammil Aslam sounded alarm that the new IMF bailout package laced with harsh conditions would trigger an inflation of tsunami and would further compound public miseries; hence the mandate stolen government should not hastily ink an agreement with the lender but should take onboard the federating units so as to negotiate a better financial deal.

Addressing a press conference, flanked by PTI Central Information Secretary Raoof Hasan and PTI senator Walid Iqbal, Muzzammil said that an IMF team, led by Nathan Porter, visited Islamabad from March 14-19 to hold discussions on the second review of Pakistan’s economic programme supported by an IMF.

He said that IMF staff and the Pakistani authorities successfully reached a staff-level agreement on the second and final review under Pakistan’s Stand-By Arrangement (SBA), which was subject to the approval of the IMF’s Executive Board.

However, he expressed his surprise that despite lapse of several days, the IMF’s Executive Board meeting was yet to be held and the financial body might delay its board meeting until release of Pakistan’s economic indicators.

Muzzamil stated that the IMF agreement was successfully completed due to PTI Founding Chairman Imran Khan because the lender team had sought formal meeting with Khan before entering into a formal agreement with Pakistani authorities. 

About PTI’s letter to IMF, he noted that the letter PTI wrote to IFM was not meant to block the financial package, which was evident from the lender’s reply in which it stated that IMF encouraged the fair and peaceful resolution of all electoral disputes but had a narrow mandate on economic issues and it did not comment on domestic political developments.

Lashing out at Atta Tarar for accusing PTI of writing letter to EU to revoke Pakistan’s GSP plus status, Muzzammil said that he was acting more like PML-N cell information minister instead of federal information minister.

Adviser on Finance to CM KP pointed out that the IMF revealed that the authorities also expressed interest in receiving a new bailout package

However, he raised questions about the lender new bailout program because it proposed imposition of massive taxes, which would open a new floodgate of inflation, which had already been higher than the projected range.

Muzzammil cautioned that IMF program was critical for the cash-strapped country; however, the government needed to take all provinces into confidence in order to hold formal and professional talks so as to build consensus to strike a better financial deal instead of blindly accepting the bailout package laced with harsh conditions that would put the industrial wheal into a grinding halt.

He went on to say that the financial body proposed increasing the levy on petrol by Rs60, besides jacking up exorbitantly the prices of gas and power to meet IMF’s fiscal tightening conditions to unlock the new program.

Adviser on Finance to CM KP warned that a slight change in the composition of NFC award would disturb and shakeup the entire financial system of the provinces since they got lion shares from the center.

He revealed that IMF was demanding to end PSDP, which would shift all the burden of the federally sponsored projects to the province that would further escalate financial woes of the federating units.

Muzzamil accepted that Pakistan’s prevailing economic woes warranted a new IMF program, which the PTI would support, but the government should not take a solo flight to hammer out a deal to further plunge the country deep into the quagmire.

Advisor on Finance to CM KP said that Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb was earlier excluded from the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC); however, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif suddenly changed his mind to make him as head of the economic body by showing his inability to chair the ECC meetings.

Speaking on the occasion, PTI Central Secretory Information Raoof Hasan demanded that the EU polls observer mission should public its fact-based report outlining serious irregularities in the election process, which was handed over to the government recently.

He said that the EU mission exposed the massive pre-polls and post-polls rigging in the country in its reports and it was important that it should be published at the earliest because it was the right of the people of Pakistan as also others in the democratic world to learn how the election process was systematically impacted through interference by various state institutions which operated beyond the scope of their constitutional role to inflict grievous damage on the prospect of democracy taking roots in the country. ‘

“I call upon the EU to publish this report in its unaltered form to strengthen the fight for genuine democracy and reinforcement of human rights policies in Pakistan,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, PTI senior leader Walid Iqbal said that no tax without representation as mandate thieves were imposed on the nation, which did not have the right to decisions independently.

He demanded accountability of those responsible for polls fraud and added that there was no self-accountability as it was said that only one elections was fair and transparent in Pakistan but never officials of ECP were held accountable for polls rigging.

He stated that EU and US congress showed them mirror this time around by exposing glaring irregularities and massive polls fraud, demanding that EU should public its report so as to unmask the truth regarding the polls robbery and to ensure transparency in elections.