ISLAMABAD: PTI leader and former finance minister Shaukat Tarin on Wednesday claimed that a potential deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for revival of the extended fund facility (EFF) was still weeks away.

Speaking at a news conference at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House in Islamabad, Mr Tarin said: “We pray for the agreement as Pakistan is ours and we are nothing without it. We pray that the government would agree on a deal with the IMF which does not burden the people.”

“Their (IMF’s) statement says that this is a work in progress and there has been some headway. They are saying they will give the memorandum of economic and financial policy (MEFP) on Friday. When that has not been received, how can it be said that an agreement has been reached,” he asked.

Mr Tarin said that the MEFP would be an extensive and detailed document, which would be deliberated upon and discussed “line by line”. Then a technical agreement is signed which goes to the IMF’s board in Washington, he said, predicting that the deal would materialise by the end of July.

He said that over the span of 10 to 12 weeks, the government had made several misstatements and changed its narrative, affecting its credibility with the financial market.

He talked about how the PTI had made it necessary for retailers to ask for a person’s ID card for purchase over a certain amount, lamenting that this condition had been removed by the new government.

“They have gone back to old Pakistan. This means we will never go towards value-added tax (VAT) mode. They have protected retailers in a massive way,” he alleged.

He also questioned how, under the commitment made with the IMF, the government would collect more than Rs400 billion in taxes. “They will surely do what they have done before. They will impose more taxes on those who are already paying taxes.”

The PTI leader predicted that inflation would go up to 35 and 40pc while economic growth would be between 1 and 2pc.

Meanwhile, PTI Central Secretary General Farrukh Habib, in a statement, lashed out at PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal and accused him of promoting corruption of Sharifs rather than presenting a well-conceived programme to take the country out of the economic morass.

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal had said on Monday that corruption was not the primary reason holding back Pakistan’s economic development.

He had further claimed that there were examples of countries making progress despite similar levels of corruption.

Mr Habib lamented that Mr Iqbal and Mr Hamza Shehbaz were explaining virtues of corruption and asking the people to live with it.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2022

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