Business Standard

Imran Khan passes mini budget to appease IMF but angers citizens

Already unemployment among the educated youth is increasing at a time when inflation in December touched 12.3 per cent, up from 11.5 per cent in November

Imran Khan

Pakistan PM Imran Khan (Photo: Reuters)

IANS
Discontent has risen among the people in Pakistan as the Imran Khan government, which is looking for a financial assistance package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), passed the Supplementary Finance Budget, increasing tax rates for many items. Already unemployment among the educated youth is increasing at a time when inflation in December touched 12.3 per cent, up from 11.5 per cent in November. The 'mini' budget now is likely to push up prices further in the immediate term.
Earlier, the Dawn in a report said that 'much of the bitterness against the IMF comes from the conditions it attaches to its loans.' However, IMF loans come with stringent conditionalities that touch upon macroeconomic and structural policies.
The news organisation noted that protests against the IMF have erupted in countries like Argentina, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Jordan, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan or Tunisia.
In fact, the debt-ridden Sri Lanka, despite having a total debt burden for this year is $6.9 billion, rejected IMF assistance.
Islamabad will resume negotiations with IMF in February 2022 for a $6 billion package.
While in 2019, IMF agreed for a bailout package, it halted assistance in January 2020, after Khan refused to increase electricity tariff and impose additional taxes as prescribed by the multilateral agency.
But now with the passage of the 'mini' budget that aims to put an end to several exemptions, opposition members have said that the IMF will now have a role in deciding the country's economic policies. 'A country's strategic autonomy gets compromised when multilateral agencies provide financial bailout packages..they tend to dictate terms and that is the reason many countries refuse to seek help from multilateral agencies,' an analyst said.
The News International said that the PTI government's surrender-like agreement with the IMF has pushed Pakistan's citizens into more misery.
'The agreement to the conditionalities of the IMF has been signed by the rulers in Islamabad, on behalf of Pakistani citizens. And they are being enforced with all the burdens of this agreement. The unbearable cost of food and basic needs for survival is being paid by citizens without knowing why,' the news organisation said.
(The content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jan 31 2022 | 2:36 PM IST

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