IMF team to visit Pakistan in two to three days: Shehbaz

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Friday that a team of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is likely to visit Pakistan for a review within the next two to three days.

In a bid to break a deadlock with the global lender, the prime minister had made a telephonic call to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Thursday, urging her to relax conditions regarding increase in energy prices and imposition of more taxes.

Addressing a ceremony here today, PM Shehbaz said he was assured in his recent conversation with the global lender’s managing director for its team’s visit in the next two to three days.

Referring to his telephonic interaction, the prime minister assured that, unlike its predecessor, the incumbent government would abide by its commitments with the IMF without further burdening the masses.

However, he said that he had also sensitised the IMF head over the country’s economic condition adversely affected by the worst floods, making it clear that his government had already taxed the rich but could no more burden the poor.

The IMF chief assured that their team would visit Pakistan for a review within the next few days, the prime minister added.

Also read: PM steps in to break deadlock with IMF

The telephonic contact was made four days before a face-to-face meeting between the prime minister and the IMF head is expected to take place on the sidelines of the Geneva Conference aimed at seeking relaxations from the global lender.

Sources told The Express Tribune that the prime minister urged the IMF managing director to review the condition about imposition of new taxes. He also sought relaxation in the demand to increase electricity prices to compensate for the deviation of around Rs500 billion from the annual circular debt management plan.

These remain the major stumbling blocks in reaching an initial understanding for a staff level visit by the IMF to Pakistan. “However, the government stood ready to impose flood levy and windfall income tax on commercial banks,” they added.

There was also a resolve from the Pakistani side to increase the energy prices in the future against any further deviation.

It was unclear whether the IMF MD promised to give any concessions.


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