Pakistan government on defensive after IMF rebuke

Pakistan’s minister of state for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghous Pasha said that the country had not breached the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), saying “any shortfall in petroleum duties will be adjusted in coming months”.

This statement came during the meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance, hours after IMF insisted on sticking to policy commitments made by Pakistan, The Express Tribune reported.

The committee discussed the currency manipulation case and whether the responsible department took any firm action against this. However, neither the central bank nor the finance ministry has given any satisfactory response regarding taking action against the banks. The question of sticking to policy came after the newly appointed Finance Minister Ishaq Dar reduced the prices of all petroleum products for the next fortnight by around five per cent — reversing a policy of raising prices monthly through added levies to ensure enhanced revenues as agreed with the IMF. Dar reduced the duty to Rs 32.42 on petrol but increased the rate to 12.58 per litre on diesel. Cumulatively, the rate on the two products should have been Rs 55 per litre against the current Rs 45 per litre rate, reported The Express Tribune.