Shaukat Tarin cancels his presser after noticing deadlock in IMF talks

Finance Ministry also keeping mum, says no timeframe of talks can be given: IMF representative says negotiations are on

By: News Desk      Published: 12:00 PM, 22 Oct, 2021
IMF talks
File photo.

The ‘uncertainty’ surrounding Pakistan, International Monetary Fund (IMF) talks in Washington forced newly-appointed Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin to suddenly cancel his presser and leave the US capital, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Friday. 

Sources told 24News TV channel that Shaukat Tarin was due to address a press conference at which he was to brief the media men about Pakistan’s negotiations with the Fund.

But the IMF’s persistent demand from Pakistan to withdraw subsidies worth over Rs300 billion and the PM adviser’s failure to satisfy the money lending organisation that the country was curtailing its expenditures put question marks over the success of talks, and thus creating disillusionment in the Pakistani camp, leading to the cancellation of the press briefing.  

Now after Tarin had left, the finance secretary would continue talks with the IMF in his place instead. 

The sources further said that in order to talks with the Fund succeed, Pakistan would have to accept the tough conditions set by the latter. And only when the country would assure the IMF of implementation on its tough demands that the talks could succeed, they added. 

It has also been learned that the adviser to the prime minister kept receiving instructions from PM Imran even during the talks with the IMF.

Meanwhile, the Federal Finance Ministry has been keeping mum about the outcome of the negotiations being held in Washington between Pakistan and the IMF.

A Finance Ministry spokesman, however, said that they could not give a timeframe of the talks with the IMF.

The IMF country representative in Islamabad said that the representatives of Pakistan and the Fund were reviewing the economic policies and reforms for the completion of the sixth review. The talks are continuing, the IMF representative added.

Only four days ago, on October 18, 2021, 24News TV channel had reported that a deadlock persisted between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund as the global lender had put forward harsh conditions for the release of stalled loan, asking Islamabad to undo unnecessary tax holiday facility and raise the tax collection to Rs6,000 billion.

Sources had divulged that talks between the IMF and Pakistan were not going in a smooth way as the Fund wanted the abolition of unnecessary tax holidays and it also imposed a condition to raise tax revenue to Rs6 trillion. 

Sources said that the technical teams of both sides failed to build consensus on gas and electricity prices. The Fund put a condition asking Pakistan to get rid of the circular debt. The teams will also discuss privatization of government-owned entities.

However, finance ministry spokesperson Muzzammil Aslam on the same had said that the talks between the two sides would resume later today. 

The spokesperson eschewed giving any final date for the conclusion of the talks. He, however, announced that the negotiations would be going on until these are successful.

A day ago, on October 17, the Ministry of Finance spokesperson had rejected the news that dialogue with the international monetary organisation had ended in failure.

Reporter Waqas Azeem