Sat, 04 Feb 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], December 3 (ANI): Soon after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has sought details from Pakistan government of the expected revenue shortfall and extra spending by the provinces in the aftermath of the floods, particularly by Sindh and Balochistan, Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar said that the international money lender cannot dictate terms to Pakistan on how to manage the finances.

Dar, in an interview during Geo News' programme, said he would not beg the IMF for providing loans to Pakistan and he has told the lender's officials that "you can't dictate; if the money doesn't come in, we'll manage".

The Finance Minister said if the IMF does not provide funds, "he doesn't care" and the Fund can wait for Pakistan to manage its economy as the government could not burden the people by surging the petroleum products prices.

Unsatisfied with Pakistan's revenue and spending plan, the IMF demanded additional information from Pakistan government, including details of shelved development projects that have now been taken up again as a top priority of the government, The Express Tribune reported.

These demands came amid the frustration in the Pakistani camp over the IMF's insistence to share information on the full current fiscal year, going beyond the ninth review period of July-September 2022, according to sources in Pakistan's Ministry of Finance.

The last meeting between senior Pakistani and IMF officials did not go well as the latter's call to comply with actions that were not even due during the ninth review period, The Express Tribune quoted sources as saying.

The IMF has also questioned Pakistan's claim that it can still generate Rs800 billion in revenue through the petroleum levy in the current fiscal year, against the budget target of Rs 855 billion. The collection in the first quarter remained at only Rs 47 billion which, according to a finance ministry official, crossed Rs80 billion by the end of October.

But the IMF has asked Pakistan to provide month-wise details of petroleum levy and consumption of petroleum products from July to June 2023, according to the sources.

The delay in completing the ninth review is also affecting loan disbursements by other international creditors, putting additional pressure on the foreign exchange reserves and the exchange rate, reported The Express Tribune.

The Finance Minister said all the commitments with the international money lender were in order and the government has been holding weekly meetings with the Fund for the ninth review.

The sources further said that IMF had asked the government to provide details of spending and revenue forecast by the four provinces in order to seek clarity on the primary budget deficit.

Earlier, Dawn reported that Pakistan needs USD 32 billion to USD 34 billion this fiscal year to meet its foreign obligations. According to financial experts, Pakistan still requires about USD 23 billion in the remaining fiscal year.

Although Pakistan had told IMF that it would reduce the fiscal deficit by Rs 1500 billion in the current fiscal year. However, the situation is worsening as the deficit increases in the first quarter. (ANI)

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