Strict conditions for people of Pakistan over IMF deal revealed

Strict conditions for people of Pakistan over IMF deal revealed

As the talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over the $6.5 billion bailout program concluded on Thursday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif approved the deal with the international money lender saying all matters were settled, sources said.

Sources privy to the development said the IMF delegation held a meeting with the PM via video link which was also attended by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. The IMF would approve the release of a $1.1 billion loan tranche after the IMF executive board conducted the country's economic assessment, sources added.

In order to unlock the next tranche, the lender required Pakistan to increase levies on petrol, diesel, and gas; decrease circular debt and reform the power sector; collect up to $5 billion in funds from friendly countries; introduce a mini-budget to increase taxes; make public departments profitable; ensure compliance on privatisation scheme; and continue market-based exchange rate policy.

Earlier today, Mr Dar was confident that the matters would be settled with the IMF and people would hear the "good news" shortly. He had said the government was working expeditiously to enhance length and quality of road infrastructure in the country to facilitate economic growth and prosperity. The minister was addressing the concluding ceremony of the Road Safety Conference for Parliamentarians in Islamabad.

The minister added the government was also pursuing effective implementation of the road safety laws to ensure accident-free traffic flow in the country.

Urging parliamentarians to find necessary solutions to improve road safety, he underscored the need to focus on traffic laws and ensure their strict implementation. Mr Dar said the government had included 50 projects worth Rs118.4 billion in the current fiscal year to provide safe and modern transportation system in the country.

The finance minister pointed out that the PML-N government in the early 90s executed the Islamabad-Lahore motorway project and now the network of motorways had almost been expanded throughout the country.

On Wednesday, a delegation of the IMF had met the PM.

During the meeting, PM Shehbaz assured the international financial body of fulfilling the targets given to the country. The PM was flanked by Mr Dar and other officials of the finance and energy ministry. The officials of the energy ministry had presented the gas management plan, while the premier briefed the IMF on the current situation of the country’s economy.