ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Khyber Pakhtun­khwa chief minister on finance Muzzammil Aslam on Monday raised an alarm, warning that the new IMF bailout package, laced with “harsh conditions”, would unleash a tsunami of inflation and exacerbate public suffering.

The PTI leader suggested the government refrain from hastily signing an agreement with the lender and instead involve the federating units to negotiate a better financial deal.

Speaking at a press conference alongside PTI Central Information Secretary Raoof Hasan and PTI Senator Walid Iqbal, Mr Aslam said that the IMF staff and Pakistani authorities had successfully reached a staff-level agreement on the final review during meetings held from March 14-19 under Pakistan’s Stand-By Arrangement.

However, he expressed surprise that despite several days having passed, the IMF’s executive board meeting had yet to take place, and the financial body might delay its board meeting until the release of Pakistan’s economic indicators.

Regarding PTI’s letter to the IMF, he noted that the letter PTI wrote to the IMF was not meant to block the financial package.

He pointed out that the IMF revealed that the authorities also expressed interest in receiving a new bailout package.

However, he raised questions about the lender’s new bailout programme because it proposed the imposition of massive taxes, which would open a new floodgate of inflation.

He went on to say that the financial body proposed increasing the levy on petrol by Rs60, besides significantly increasing the prices of gas and power to meet the IMF’s fiscal tightening conditions to unlock the new programme.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2024

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