Progress made in Govt-IMF talks: Miftah

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail on Thursday declared that the government has saved Pakistan from bankruptcy, informing that progress had been made in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The finance minister insisted they had saved the country from default and the financial situation of the country was stable now.

Addressing a press conference here, along with Information and Broadcasting Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Miftah Ismail said the government had to take some difficult decisions to save the country’s economy from collapse. He, however, hoped the government would be able to control the inflation in the next two to three months.

Miftah informed that the government was expecting to receive $2.3 billion in loan from China by next Monday. “The rate of US dollar has also come down today and positive signs are coming out of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX),” he said.

Dispelling the impression that the poor people were bearing the brunt of taxation, the minister claimed that actually the government had levied taxes on the rich people. “We have presented a historic budget in which no new tax has been introduced; the fact is that we plan to increase taxes on sugar mills’ owners and billionaires,” he clarified.

He went on to say that never ever in his life had he seen such a pathetic economic situation of the country.

Miftah again did not forget to lash out at former prime minister Imran Khan, and alleged that he had left behind a ‘bankrupt’ Pakistan. “When we took over, there was a deficit of Rs120 billion,” he said, and asked the purpose of PTI’s ascent to power when according to party Chairman Imran Khan, the purpose was not to reduce the prices of tomatoes, onions and other food items. “The PTI government had borrowed excessive loans and these were the poor people who were the victims of the last government’s taxation,” he opined.

Miftah maintained “We saved Pakistan from default by increasing the prices of petroleum products. The government has reached an understanding with the IMF over the budget’s measures.”

The minister said that he will deliver the winding-up speech of the general discussion on the federal budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 in the National Assembly and then they will close the budget. “It is a historic budget as we have neither increased indirect taxes nor imposed taxes on commodities or consumption,” he added.

Lashing out at the PTI government, the finance minister said that they imposed heavy taxes on consumption which cast a bad impact on the poor.

The previous government made four highest-ever budget deficits, he said, adding that Pakistan’s debt since the country’s inception had increased by 80 percent during the PTI tenure. He said that Imran Khan brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy.

He maintained that they only imposed taxes on the rich. “I have imposed taxes even on the companies of the prime minister’s son and my own company will now also pay more tax,” he added.

Miftah said the government has provided relief to poor people by shifting burden of tax on rich people. He said tax would be further increased on rich people having income above 150 million rupees.

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