Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday said that he knew how to deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and no one had to worry about anything regarding it any more.
"I have to handle the IMF matters, so from now on, neither Miftah nor anybody else has to worry about anything," he said during an interview with journalist Hamid Mir aired on Geo News.
Dar's statement comes a day after Ismail, in a tweet, termed the government's decision to not increase the petroleum development levy (PDL) this month without the approval of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) "reckless".
The PML-N government on September 30 announced a cut of around five per cent in the prices of all petroleum products for the next fortnight. The development came just three days after Ismail had resigned as finance minister (Sept 27) to make way for Ishaq Dar.
To pass on the relief to the consumers, the government took a hit on revenue by reducing PDL on petrol by Rs5 per litre to Rs32.42. However, the levy has been increased by Rs5 per litre on high-speed diesel to Rs12.58. Under the agreement with IMF, the government was supposed to gradually increase PDL every month.
During the interview today, Dar said that Ismail was a colleague but the two had different points of view as he advised the former finance minister not to worry about the IMF.
“I know how to do it as I have solutions and have been dealing with them for the last 25 years.
“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif himself told me that during the United National General Assembly (UNGA) session, where Miftah was also present, he proposed IMF officials freeze taxes to which they did not refuse," he said, adding that amid the floods, people should not be burdened any further.
Dar also said that the “actual value of the Pakistani rupee is less than 200 against the dollar" and vowed to bring it down.
IMF deal and PDL
Under the deal with the IMF, the government had to gradually increase the PDL on petroleum products to a maximum of Rs50 per litre to collect Rs855 billion during the current fiscal year.
The previous PTI government had committed a monthly PDL increase of Rs5 on petrol and HSD until it reached Rs50 in January for petrol and April for diesel.
However, before the former prime minister’s ouster, he reduced the PDL to zero on March 1. As the international prices went up, the PTI government not only reduced the petroleum prices by Rs10 per litre but also froze them for the next four months.
After coming to power in April, the PML-N-led coalition government refrained from increasing the prices immediately. However, since May 15, the government has been increasing the prices in line with the IMF deal. As Pakistan battled with the flood catastrophe, the government had requested the IMF managing director for a three-month freeze on the PDL and fuel cost on electricity.