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IMF Says Policy Commitments Made By Pakistan Continue To Apply

The resident representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Monday that policy commitments made by Pakistani authorities to resume the support programme continue to apply.

“Policy commitments made by the Pakistani authorities as part of the Seventh and Eighth review under their IMF-support programme continue to apply,” IMF representative in Islamabad Esther Pérez Ruiz told Reuters.

She said policy discussions, including how to target support to those affected by the floods while maintaining macroeconomic stability, will commence in coming weeks after the damage assessment report becomes available.

The IMF representative made the comments a day after former finance minister Miftah Ismail termed the government’s decision to freeze fuel levy “reckless”.

Miftah had engaged in a Twitter spat with PTI leader and his predecessor Shaukat Tarin on Sunday where he had critcised the previous government for its “unforgivable” petroleum subsidies, but had also admitted that the PML-N-led government’s decision to lower petroleum products’ prices was “reckless”.

Pakistan has committed to increase the petroleum levy on petrol by Rs30 per liter till September 1, and on diesel by Rs15 per on September 1, 2022 and take it to Rs50 per liter in January 2023 on petrol and Rs50 per liter on by April 2023 diesel.

Miftah had prematurely increased it to Rs37.5 per liter despite the IMF had set the Rs35 per liter limit for petrol for October 1. Current Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who took the baton from Miftah last month, has cut it to Rs32.5 per liter on petrol, which is not very low compared to the October 1 requirement.

“I know how to deal with the IMF and no one has to worry about anything regarding it anymore,” said Dar said while responding to Miftah’s comment during a show on the private news channel.

“I have to handle the IMF matters, so from now on, neither Miftah nor anybody else has to worry about anything,” he added.

He went on to say that he knew how to do it as he has solutions and has been dealing with the IMF for the last 25 years. The PML-N senior leader also said that the “actual value of the Pakistani rupee is less than 200 against the dollar” and vowed to bring it down.