Home »Money and Banking » Pakistan » Cabinet unaware of ‘harsh’ IMF conditionalities?
Prime Minister's Advisor on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh reportedly did not share "harsh" conditionalities agreed with International Monetary Fund (IMF) for $ 6 billion program with his cabinet colleagues during the meeting of the federal cabinet held on May 21, 2019, well informed sources told Business Recorder. The Ministers who attended the cabinet meeting, sources said, were unhappy with the economic situation of the country especially the impact on general prices, dollar appreciation and negative sentiment in the market.

According to sources, Finance Advisor informed the cabinet about reforms agreed with the IMF and their expected outcome but avoided sharing the details of what was agreed as prior and during programme conditions with the IMF. Some of the cabinet members expressed extreme concern that with the current pace of the appreciation of the dollar (as on May 21, 2019) the rupee dollar parity could touch Rs 200 per dollar by December 2019. Prime Minister's Advisor who is the target of criticism within the country stated that in such a situation the government has many tools. The cabinet members, however, were not satisfied with clarifications provided by the Finance Advisor. The sources said further stated that the cabinet spent hours discussing the country's current economic situation and at one stage Prime Minister Imran Khan shared the views of businessmen he has been receiving since the meltdown of the economy.

After the discussion, it was decided that the Advisor would provide information and data with the government's spokespersons along with comparison of the incumbent government's nine month performance with the first nine months of PML (N) government.

The Cabinet also decided that Finance Division, in consultation with Information and Broadcasting Division, should devise an effective communication strategy to disseminate meaningful information related to economic health of the country essentially to effectively counter the negative market sentiments. The cabinet further decided that Cabinet Division will strictly follow-up on the decisions taken which are at various stages of implementation; and brief the Cabinet on weekly basis on implementation status of the decisions. In case the decision is un-implemented over a period of three months, Secretary of the concerned Division will present the status before the Cabinet.

The representatives of business community who are in the federal capital lobbying to reap maximum benefits in the upcoming federal budget are complaining that unbridled appreciation of the dollar has generated uncertainty disabling them from finalising their investment/expansion plans.

Representatives of the business community have tried to find out the terms and conditions of the IMF loan but to no avail as the small government negotiating team remains tight lipped.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

the author

I did graduation from the Government Murray College Sialkot and MSc in Psychology from the University of Punjab. I am in journalism since 1990. I worked in Daily Nawa-i-Waqt as sub editor and staff reporter in Daily Pakistan and Daily Din prior to joining Daily Business Recorder. I have been associated with this newspaper since 2000 as staff reporter. Energy Sector, Commerce / Trade and Industries are key areas of my interest. I have also the credit of exposing number of scams like Rental Power Plants (RPPs), LNG, sugar import, etc.