Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Monday ruled out scrapping fuel and electricity subsidies ahead of talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Speaking to the media, the finance minister also said the country would hear “good news” shortly before leaving today for Doha where the incumbent government will start a new round of political-level talks with the monetary fund.
In response to a question about the conditions stipulated by the IMF during Shaukat Tarin’s tenure as finance minister, Miftah said the incumbent government would refuse to raise fuel prices and levy higher taxes on fuel. raw materials.
“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif categorically refused to raise fuel prices,” the finance minister said.
Pakistan has pledged to the IMF to withdraw the energy subsidy. However, the government has yet to raise the prices of petroleum products due to fears of a political backlash.
In order to relieve consumers, the former government announced a relief package on February 28, 2022. It reduced the prices of high-speed petrol and diesel by Rs 10 per liter each and said prices would remain unchanged until the next exercise. budget for the year.
As a cap was placed on petroleum prices, the Petroleum Tax and General Sales Tax (GST) were reduced to zero for gasoline and diesel.
During the press conference, the finance minister lambasted the narrative of ousted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and blamed them for the current state of the economy.
He also blamed former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for protests for deterring the financial watchdog’s ability to hold talks in the country. However, he said he would be in communication with party leaders and would not return without a deal.
Referring to a recent comment by Tarin, he said the PTI narrative that “we were the best government” continues to hurt the country.
Lily Fate of IMF talks hinges on PM’s ‘big nod’
Miftah added that while the PTI speaks of big plots, Pakistan’s allies support the current government. “If these [conspiracies] were true, China would not be our friend, but Bilawal’s visit was a success.
The minister further criticized former Prime Minister Khan earlier Remarks stating that he didn’t care to talk about the price of “potatoes and tomatoes”.
“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif came to power because he pledged to control prices,” Miftah said, adding, “Imran Khan was in power for four years and sugar prices have not come down. , it did nothing to help consumers. .”
The finance minister also accused the PTI government of major corruption, including former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar. “Buzdar has sold 16 licenses for cement in Punjab, more than two cannot be granted due to environmental damage caused by limestone mining.”
He further added that the ousted prime minister had been saving money on mega-projects including the Rawalpindi ring road and the Billion Tree Tsunami projects.
Lily Tarin and Miftah face off on Twitter
Miftah urged the opposition to ‘stop lying’ and admit that PTI’s tenure has seen ’20 million people fall below the poverty line’ and exorbitant taxes have been levied on necessary hospital equipment such as appliances X-rays and ventilators. “Who should answer?” He asked.
In response to a question regarding power and gas shedding in Karachi, the Minister agreed that excessive shedding was negatively affecting the industry. He urged the businessmen to meet Musadik Malik during his trip to Karachi so that the PML-N leader can provide the best relief possible.