Pakistan refuses to accept tough IMF conditions

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistan on Tuesday refused to accept tough conditions laid down by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a financial bailout package, local media said.

According to Geo News, Pakistan refused IMF conditions to further increase power tariffs, imposition of more taxes and sharing details related to Chinese financial assistance.

"Disagreement with IMF continues on certain issues which include an increase in electricity prices by 20 to 22 percent " Asad Umar, finance minister, told reporters after concluding a meeting with the visiting IMF team.

However, in a statement, the Finance Ministry said that positive engagement with the IMF will continue over the coming weeks to finalize the program.

The IMF delegation led by Herald Finger, arrived in Islamabad on Nov. 7, on a two week-long visit for talks on a financial package on request of the Pakistani government to help in addressing its balance of payment issue.

Pakistan has approached the money watchdog for the second time during the last five years after the country faced serious financial challenges. It will be the 22nd program since Pakistan and IMF relations began.

In a statement IMF said: "There has been broad agreement on the need for a comprehensive agenda of reform and policy actions aimed at reducing the fiscal and current account deficit, bolstering international reserves, strengthening social protection, enhancing governance and transparency and laying the foundation for a sustainable job-creating growth path."

A day before the arrival of IMF team, Umar announced that Islamabad had overcome the balance of payment crisis with help from Saudi Arabia and China.

On Monday, $1 billion of the $3 billion committed by Saudi Arabia was remitted to the State Bank of Pakistan while Pakistani authorities said the remaining $2 billion will be received within a few days.

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