Pakistan Business Council urges govt to renegotiate IMF deal

The country’s business community has urged the government to renegotiate the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, taking into account the energy tariffs, rising unemployment, price hikes and other economic issues.

“The IMF programme needs renegotiation. Front-loaded tax targets without the Federal Board of Reve­nue’s (FBR) capability to broaden the tax base, knee-jerk withdrawal of investment incentives, higher utility costs to manage circular debt will sap growth of the fragile economy, threaten jobs,” the Pakistan Business Council (PBC) said in a tweet on Saturday.

The PBC had tagged the official Twitter accounts of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries & Prod­u­ction Hammad Azhar.

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Earlier on April 1, Finance Minister Hammad Azhar on Wednesday hinted at reviewing the IMF programme and the controversial State Bank of Pakistan amendment bill 2021.

“We are taking the SBP law to parliament with an open mind and are ready to adopt recommendations for its improvement,” he said at his maiden news conference as finance minister, a day after Pakistan launched a $2.5 billion international bond and received the $500 million tranche from the IMF.

When asked if the design of the programme could also be changed given its harsh conditions, he said the government always had the powers to review the programme.

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