IMF Imposing Conditions Beyond Our Wildest Dreams: Pak PM
After the first round of technical talks between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) team and the Pakistani government concluded on Friday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif observed that the lender was imposing conditions that were ‘beyond our wildest dreams’. Sharif said the IMF delegation was giving Finance Minister Ishaq Dar a tough time. “Our economic challenges at this moment are unimaginable. The conditions we have to fulfil are beyond our imagination.” However, he acknowledged that the country had no choice. Sources privy to the meetings between the government team and the IMF told Dawn that the Fund’s most unpopular demand entailed discontinuation of an exemption for those consuming under 300 units of electricity. Statistics show 88 per cent of power consumers in Pakistan fall in this category. Sources said the Fund was not even willing to accept reducing the threshold from 300 to 200 units. It also wants the petroleum development levy on diesel raised to Rs 50 from the current Rs 40 per litre.