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IMF: exploring other options

July 18, 2013

I WOULD like to draw the attention of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to reports about the IMF which extends zero interest rates to low-income country loans.

I am convinced that it is a disaster recipe for our economy to seek loan on an exorbitantly high rate of three per cent from the IMF to repay its old loan.

Moreover, the finance minister’s argument that this was the only option to avoid a default does not hold water as not one but many viable options exist.

Second, default is better than the destruction of the very foundations of the nation’s economy. In the recent past, many countries have bravely negotiated with the international lending agencies and succeeded in getting reduction of up to 60 per cent of their loans.

However, in Pakistan’s case our loan amount is increasing with an unbelievable speed. It was recently reported that when the PPP government took over in 2008 our debt liability was $40 billion and now it has increased to more than $60 billion.

The question is why did Ishaq Dar remain silent as the PML-N’s financial expert and senator during the PPP tenure when it crossed the legal and constitutional limit of six per cent debt-to-GDP ratio?

This was a grave violation of the law. Had the PML-N taken up this issue with the Supreme Court, the PPP government would have been immediately dismissed.

So how can he now absolve himself of this financial mess by just saying that he took over the government with the nation’s economy in a very bad shape?

Also, how can history exonerate the PML-N, in general, and Ishaq Dar, in particular, from not playing a pro-Pakistan role when the then government was playing havoc with the country’s economy?As such, there is only one way to atone for our past acts of commissions and omissions by not burdening further the nation’s economy with extremely and unprecedented expensive loans of the IMF.

There is still time to explore other options to avoid the IMF loan. Nothing is impossible. Where there is a will there is a way.