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Last IMF tranche will be first test of new government

Last IMF tranche will be first test of new government

ISLAMABAD, JAN 29 /DNA/ – Former President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Dr Shahid Rasheed Butt, said on Monday that getting the final instalment from the IMF will be the new government’s first test.

He said the new government would have to work hard to meet the IMF’s strict criteria, as all political parties offer great relief to the masses.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said in a statement issued here today that the new government will need a new three-year IMF agreement to run the country, which will be an uphill task.

The IMF programme is very important for a country’s survival because it prevents politicians from irresponsible spending that damages the economy.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that the last tranche of the existing standby agreement with the IMF would be possible after raising electricity and gas prices. It will be mandatory as the circular debt is constantly increasing despite the record increase in the price of these items.

If the IMF offered any relaxation during the final review, it would demand an upward revision of electricity and gas prices before the next agreement.

The political parties promise up to 300 units of free electricity for the masses, which is impossible due to a lack of resources and the lender’s supervision.

Any such attempts will result in the displeasure of the IMF, and if the industries are forced to pay for cheap electricity for the people, then production and exports will take a kiss of death.

The business leader said that imports have been restricted for eighteen months. The new IMF programme will include a demand to remove the import ban, which will decrease foreign exchange reserves, widen the deficit, and weaken the rupee.

He said that the IMF would also demand that industries catering to local demand be opened up to competition from overseas companies, which would be disastrous.

Moreover, taxes on real estate, land, agriculture, wholesalers, and retailers will be demanded, which will be very difficult for the government to accept and implement as it will hurt their voter base.

The NFC award could also be linked to the provinces’ tax collection, which would not be acceptable to them. Meanwhile, pressure to sell to failed government companies that are causing annual losses of trillions of rupees would increase.

He said that, due to the Yemeni conflict, oil prices could skyrocket at any time due to energy supply disruptions, making the situation worse.






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