Imran Khan: Pakistani Finance Minister Says Ex-PM Imran Khan Pushed Economy Into “Subsidies” Trap

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ISLAMABAD: Accusing former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan of setting a trap for his successors by announcing hefty fuel subsidies weeks before his ousting, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said the government will have to withdraw the subsidies to revive the stalled bailout program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a media report said.
Ismail, who is visiting the United States for talks with the financial institution, said the government will have to raise the price of gasoline to get Pakistan’s economy back on track, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Noting that the IMF wants Pakistan to withdraw the fuel subsidies provided by the previous government of Imran Khan, Ismail said he agreed with them and the government was ready to act on IMF guidelines.
“They talked about removing the fuel subsidy. I agree with them. We can’t afford to continue with the subsidies. So we’re going to reduce that,” the outlet quoted the Council as saying. Atlantic, referring to his first meetings with senior IMF officials.
Expressing the government’s inability to maintain subsidies on petroleum products, Ismail blamed Imran Khan for trying to sabotage the new government by announcing heavy fuel subsidies towards the end of his term.
“The sole objective of the government is to bring economic and fiscal stability. Measures will also be taken, in stages, to increase the country’s exports,” he said, as quoted by the media.
It comes as the IMF approved a $6 billion loan for Pakistan in 2019, but concerns over the pace of Fund-mandated reforms have delayed its disbursements.
Ismail said he looked forward to a quick agreement with the IMF on the seventh review of the loan package. The sixth review was completed in February when the fund accepted the immediate release of US$1 billion for Pakistan.
Notably, shortly after his appointment as finance minister, Ismail said that the authorized gasoline subsidy for May and June would cost 96 billion Pakistani rupees, and that “the government cannot bear this burden”, according to the media.
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