ISLAMABAD: The opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has urged the government to disclose conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before signing an agreement for economic assistance with the organisation.
“Pakistan is not a corporate company on which the decisions of a board can be imposed. This is a issue related to the future of 220 million people and the agreement cannot be kept secret,” said PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, who is also a spokesman for PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, in a statement here on Saturday.
The statement was issued by the PPP a day after Finance Minister Asad Umar announced that an agreement with the IMF for an economic assistance package would be signed by the end of this month.
Mr Khokhar said that the finance minister was due to sign the agreement with the IMF by the end of this month and the nation was still unaware of the details of the IMF package.
Says issue relates to future of 220m people and cannot be kept secret
The PPP senator said the people of the country wanted to know as to how much further price-hike they would have to face after the signing of the package agreement with the IMF. He said the people wanted to know as to how much increase would be there in their bills of electricity and gas and how much increase would be there in the oil prices after the grant of IMF loan. Similarly, he said, the government should also tell the nation as to what would be the rate of the dollar after the deal.
“What is so secret in the agreement [with IMF] that it is being kept secret?” he asked.
Mr Khokhar alleged that the country was heading towards bankruptcy due to faulty economic policies of the government. He said the country’s stock market had already crashed. He warned that the opposition would not accept any anti-people acts of the government.
Talking to a group of media persons on Friday, the finance minister had stated that the economic package would be finalised in principle with the fund during spring meetings (April 12-14) of the World Bank and the IMF in Washington where he would hold discussions with the fund authorities. This would be followed by an IMF mission’s visit to Pakistan to formally conclude a programme for signing.
The minister had said he would share the medium-term macroeconomic framework with the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue tomorrow (Monday) to explain the government’s economic roadmap over the next few years.
Mr Umar had denied reports that Pakistan had agreed to the devaluation of rupee with the IMF as claimed by former finance minister Ishaq Dar, saying the IMF had not even demanded currency depreciation. The IMF discussions with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) were in progress on exchange rate management but not at all on fixing rupee-dollar rate, he had claimed.
Mr Umar had reiterated that this programme would be Pakistan’s last programme and noted that the recent depreciation of rupee was being fuelled by speculations and fake news otherwise the SBP had announced in clear terms that rupee had achieved its equilibrium.
Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2019