Islamabad: Pakistan government’s passing of the Supplementary Finance Budget to seek a financial assistance package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has left citizens of the country furious, said a media report.
Citizens are angry as the ‘mini budget’ has increased the tax rates for many items at a time when inflation in December touched 12.3 per cent, up from November’s 11.5 per cent.
Opposition members claim that with the passage of this budget that aims to put an end to several exemptions, the IMF will now have a role in deciding the economic policies of Pakistan.
While speaking to media, an analyst said, “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.”
News International said that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (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 in its piece.
It should be noted that The Dawn had stressed 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, 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.