ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has demanded the removal of subsidies on electricity, gas, and utility stores in exchange for the third tranche of a loan to Pakistan.
The first round of talks between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on economic review through a video link to revive the suspended program was fruitless, while the IMF agreed to continue the program and launch the third installment, including utilities including electricity and gas demanded the elimination of unnecessary subsidies given through stores.
Finance Ministry officials say review talks between Pakistan and the IMF are still ongoing and the parties are participating in virtual talks and efforts are underway to make other review talks fruitful. The loan program with IMF will also be restored and the withheld installment will also be released.
Sources say the IMF’s requirement to end subsidies is nothing new, the government is already working to eliminate unnecessary subsidies and believes in providing targeted subsidies only to provide relief to deserving people. A lot of work has been already done.
Sources said that a special cell has been set up in the Finance Ministry to consider the IMF’s demands for eliminating unnecessary subsidies in other areas, including utility stores, including electricity and gas.
Sources said that the cell has been set up under the chairmanship of former finance secretary Dr. Waqar Masood and the special cell will formulate its recommendations for the elimination of unnecessary subsidies and also give suggestions for the implementation of economic reforms. Steps will be taken in the context of It should be noted that the government has allocated a subsidy of Rs 209 billion for various sectors this year. A subsidy of Rs 150 billion has been earmarked for the energy sector, Rs 3 billion for utility stores, Rs 13 billion for cheap wheat, and Rs 2 billion for metro bus service. Rs 30 billion has also been allocated for the New Pakistan Housing Project in the form of a subsidy.