Rollback of subsidies: ‘Miftah should have taken a stand’, says Tarin
Ex-Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Monday said that his successor Miftah Ismail “should have taken a stand” in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pertaining to the rollback of subsidies on power and fuel announced by the previous government.
Tarin in a statement on social media said that the previous government of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) met all targets given to it by the international lender for the release of the seventh tranche.
He said that the IMF had expressed concerns on the fuel and electricity subsidies announced by former premier Imran Khan back in February. “We advised them (IMF) that subsidies were necessary due to the inflationary pressures on the common man and were fully funded,” said Tarin.
“Miftah should have taken a stand,” he added.
The statement comes after the IMF said on Monday that Pakistan had agreed to roll back subsidies to the oil and power sectors, as the South Asian country seeks revival of the EFF programme.
“We agreed that prompt action is needed to reverse the unfunded subsidies which have slowed discussions for the 7th review,” said Nathan Porter, IMF Mission Chief for Pakistan, in a statement issued late night on Monday.
“Based on the constructive discussions with the authorities in Washington, the IMF expects to field a mission to Pakistan in May to resume discussions over policies for completing the 7th EFF review.
“The authorities have also requested the IMF to extend the EFF arrangement through June 2023 as a signal of their commitment to address existing challenges and achieve the program objectives.”
Meanwhile, current finance minister Miftah in his earlier talk at the Atlantic Council said that he agreed with the recommendations of the IMF to remove fuel subsidies. “They’ve talked about removing the subsidy on fuel. I agree with them,” Miftah, himself a former IMF economist, said.
The finance minister has maintained this stance on several occasions. Earlier, talking to media persons in Washington, he said that the government cannot afford to continue subsidy on petroleum products due to the country’s economic condition.