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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Govt. & KP Finance Minister trade barbs over IMF deal

KP Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra wrote a letter to Finance Minister Miftah Ismail saying the provincial government could not fulfill the requirements of the IMF program due to various reasons. 

The PML-N-led federal government and the PTI-led KP provincial government are trading barbs over the latter “backing out” from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) deal just days ahead of the IMF board meeting on Monday.

According to the details, KP Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra wrote a letter to Finance Minister Miftah Ismail saying the provincial government could not fulfill the requirements of the IMF program due to various reasons.

To clarify, ensuring surpluses by provinces this fiscal year is a key requirement previously agreed upon to revive the IMF program. However, in the letter, Taimur Khan wrote that it would be “next to impossible” for KPK to actually leave a surplus.

Read more: Pakistan receives letter of Intent from IMF

Needless to say, the letter caused alarm. It was also reported that Taimur Khan sent a copy of the letter directly to IMF however, the KP Minister rejected this. Amid the intense backlash, Taimur Khan Jhagra shared the letter and criticized PML-N.

“This imported government doesn’t need enemies. Their own party hierarchy and their chamchas [sycophants] are enough to sabotage their own. Why would the KP government or I write to the IMF? Please read the letter I wrote to the Federal Finance Minister for yourself,” Taimur Khan Jhagra tweeted.

In the letter, Taimur Jhagra said running a surplus would be “next to impossible” if the federal government didn’t resolve certain issues, such as budget allocations for ex-Fata, monthly transfers of net hydel profits as per agreed terms, immediately reviving the National Finance Commission award, etc.

He also said the KP administration might find it difficult to run a provincial surplus this year in view of flood-related damages.

Miftah Ismail slams PTI

The government did not take too kindly to the letter, and Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, in a late-night presser with PDM leaders criticized what he called PTI’s “atte­mpts to sabotage the IMF deal”.

He regretted that the PTI was “doing politics” at a time when rain-induced floods have affected millions of families across the country.

Read more: Bombardment of Rs.40 billion new taxes following approval by IMF

“If you can’t stop politics even at this time, let the country go to default,” Miftah Ismail said while slamming PTI.

It was known that the IMF would hold its board meeting on August 29 to revive the economic program and despite that, the KP took a step with “bad intentions”.

“Could you not wait for 10 days?” Miftah further added that he will meet Jhagra on Monday to discuss issues surrounding the IMF program.