ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday took parliamentarians of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its allies into confidence on the $6 billion bailout package finalised with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and overall economic policies of the government.
On the other hand, the opposition demanded that the government apprise parliament of the agreement made with the IMF.
During a meeting chaired by the prime minister, the PTI parliamentarians and its allies were briefed by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Hafeez Shaikh on the IMF deal.
Later talking to the state-run Pakistan Television, Special Assistant to the PM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the prime minister wanted to apprise the parliamentarians of the ruling party on the current economic situation before the coming federal budget.
She said the prime minister had also urged the PTI lawmakers to give more time to their constituencies and regularly visit markets and keep an eye on the prices of essential items during Ramazan. “The main focus of the prime minister was on how to alleviate the sufferings of the common man,” she added.
Ms Awan claimed that the government had put the economy on the right track and the sufferings of the people were temporary. She said the parliamentarians of the ruling alliance had shown complete confidence in the policies of the government and the prime minister.
Earlier, Dr Shaikh said Pakistan would receive $6bn under the IMF programme over a period of three years. He said the agreement between the government and the IMF would be approved by the latter’s board, adding that the IMF was an international institution whose primary job was to assist member countries facing economic difficulties. He said the conditions set by the IMF were also in favour of Pakistan that how the country could curtail its expanses and liabilities and improve its economy.
Dr Shaikh said the government was focused on not placing too much burden on the common man, adding that if power tariff was increased under the IMF programme, it would not affect 75 per cent consumers using less than 300 units of electricity. “Under the programme, the government is also allocating an additional Rs80bn for social safety programmes like Ehsaas and the Benazir Income Support Programme in order to minimise the burden on the common man,” he said.
In the National Assembly, opposition leaders, including Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ahsan Iqbal of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Raja Pervez Ashraf of the Pakistan Peoples Party, asked the government to inform parliament about the conditions set by the IMF.
Meanwhile, Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiyar said in a TV show that the IMF bailout package would be brought before the parliament.
Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2019