Shehbaz asks govt to brief parliament on IMF talks

Accuses ruling party of striking a ‘clandestine deal’ with the global lender


Our Correspondent October 26, 2021
Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly addressing a session in National Assembly on June 15, 2021. PHOTO: TWITTTER/@NAofPakistan

LAHORE:

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif on Monday demanded of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government to present details of its talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before parliament.

The PML-N president, in an official statement, sought details of the government’s talks with IMF for the resumption of $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF), saying the ruling party’s “criminal silence” on the unbridled inflation was dubious as the rate of rupee touched a new all-time low of Rs174.43 against the US dollar in the inter-bank market.

“Keeping the details of terms and conditions hidden from the Parliament is suspicious,” he alleged, saying the rise in the value of the dollar and inflation could be the result of a “clandestine agreement" with the global lender.

He said that the people are paying the price for agreeing to the conditions put forward by the IMF in terms of inflation and unemployment.

The leader said that the resulting persistent surge in the dollar rates was “destructive” for the national economy and “dangerous” for national security. “History is witness that any increase in the dollar prices has always augmented inflation in the country,” Shehbaz added.

READ Shehbaz berates govt on state of economy

Despite intensified efforts by the cash-starved government to secure an arrangement with the IMF, the talks between the two have remained inconclusive. Pakistan has not been able to conclude the 6th review talks with the IMF that originally began in June this year.

The third attempt to complete the 6th review and secure the $1 billion tranche has so far remained unsuccessful that has also put at stake the next reviews.

Under the revised schedule, the 7th review had to begin from September 3 and December 8 this year. The finance ministry’s failure to timely complete these reviews has also delayed the completion of the next reviews, putting at stake $4 billion.

Under the revised schedule, the 7th review had to begin from September 3 and December 8 this year. The finance ministry’s failure to timely complete these reviews has also delayed the completion of the next reviews, putting at stake $4 billion.

Finance Secretary Yousaf Khan, the last member of the Pakistani delegation negotiating terms of the tranche with the Fund, also left Washington a few days ago without any breakthrough.

A high-level Pakistani delegation — including Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin, Finance Secretary Yousaf Khan, State Bank Governor Raza Baqir and other senior officials — arrived in Washington on Oct 4 to attend annual meetings of the World Bank and the IMF.

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