Peshawar: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday questioned the kind of independence enjoyed by the country when the nation is “economically enslaved” by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), media reports said.
Pakistan’s political crisis, depleting foreign reserves, delay in IMF’s loan disbursement and rupee devaluation have had a hard-hitting impact on its economy, Geo News reported.
“What have we done since our independence in the last 75 years when we are economically enslaved by the IMF,” Sharif asked while speaking to journalists during a visit to the flood-hit areas in Peshawar, the report said.
The Prime Minister said the coalition government would take decisions that would steer the country out of every crisis — as it faces uphill tasks on several fronts.
Pakistan reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF last month, after months of deeply unpopular belt-tightening by the government, which took power in April and has effectively eliminated fuel and power subsidies and introduced new measures to broaden the tax base.
The new government has slashed a raft of subsidies to meet the demands of global financial institutions, but risks the wrath of an electorate already struggling under the weight of double-digit inflation.
Following the staff-level agreement and the tough decisions, IMF’s Resident Representative for Pakistan, Esther Perez Ruiz, had said earlier this week that the country has completed the last precondition – increasing the PDL (petroleum development levy) – for the combined seventh and eighth reviews.