Pakistan-IMF talks begin in Qatar

Pakistan-IMF talks begin in Qatar

Islamabad: Representatives of the Pakistan government have begun talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday over the release of crucial funds, Dawn reported.
The talks had stopped in the wake of political uncertainty in Pakistan and the slow pace of economic reforms in the country.
Pakistan is going through a major economic crisis with inflation shooting up to record levels and has been forces to repeatedly seek international support for its economy. Pakistan has been hit by crippling national debt, galloping inflation and a plummeting rupee.
The talks are being held in the Qatari capital Doha, the Ministry of Finance said, and are expected to continue into next week.
Pakistan is being represented by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Minister of State Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha, Finance Secretary Hamed Yaqoob Shaikh, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Acting Governor Dr Murtaza Syed, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Asim Ahmad and other officials from the Finance Division.
A major sticking point in the talks is likely over costly subsidies — notably for fuel and electricity, which IMF is insisting the government should stop immediately whereas the Pakistan government insist on carrying on with the subsidies in order to ease the pain of economic hardship being faced by the Pakistani people.
The finance minister said he wants the two sides to “find a middle ground” and try and make the international body that for political stability purposes it is important to keep at least some of the subsidies”.
The previous government of Imran Khan has signed a $6 billion IMF bailout package in 2019 which was never been fully implemented because his government reneged on agreements to cut or end some subsidies and to improve revenue and tax collection.
Islamabad has so far received $3bn, with the programme due to end later this year.
Paki

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