Fawad optimistic about meeting IMF conditions

Says mini-budget, SBP amendment bill will be passed before Jan 12 deadline

​ Our Correspondents December 25, 2021
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain addressing a press conference in Islamabad on December 14. PHOTO: APP


Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Friday said that the government would comfortably meet prior conditions set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the loan before the deadline – Jan 12.

The federal minister while talking to The Express Tribune said that the government would fulfil the IMF’s conditions, including passing of Rs360 billion mini-budget and the State Bank of Pakistan Amendment Bill, 2021, before January 12, 2022, when the sixth review will be presented to the IMF Board for the next $1 billion loan tranche.

On the opposition’s hue and cry over the mini-budget, Fawad said, “If the opposition is against going to the IMF, it should come up with an alternative solution.”

On Thursday, Fawad had refuted the news and speculations that the government would pass a mini-budget through an ordinance, saying it would be tabled in parliament and the highest legislature forum would take the final decision in this regard.

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Recently, the federal cabinet withdrew the supplementary finance bill from the agenda after the ruling party’s defeat in the local bodies’ elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa amid rising inflation. Reportedly, the minister had said that the bill would soon be presented again before the cabinet.

Meanwhile, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif in a statement said that the falling back of the ruling PTI on global commercial banks to avoid depletion of foreign exchange reserves confirms that concerns and alarm expressed by the opposition.

Shehbaz, who is also the National Assembly opposition leader, said that the government policy of relying on foreign banks for dollars was like playing with fire.

He said there was no way the opposition was going to approve a mini-budget and standing up against it was a test for members of parliament, hoping that, hoping that the conscientious members of the government would take a bold stand, the allies will also muster up the courage and stand by the truth. “If the government allies join the oppression against the people and Pakistan, they would also be seen by the nation as accomplices of the PTI in the destruction of the national economy. This mini-budget is a prelude to tying the hands and feet of Pakistan,” he said.

Shehbaz said since 2018, the incumbent government had reached a debt level of $40 billion, which was alarming to say the least. During the first five months of the current financial year, the government borrowed $4.96 billion of which $3.45 billion was for non-developmental purposes. Of the $14 billion budget estimate, only $4.699 billion had been raised so far. “Debt money cannot sustain the economy nor is it a wise policy in favour of the country.”


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