News Desk |
The former finance minister Asad Umar has revealed that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had initially demanded a 94 percent increase in gas prices and 50 percent in electricity tariffs for a loan package.
The ex-minister, however, said that the final staff-level agreement largely reflected concessions that Pakistan won during the negotiations. Umar while speaking in the National Assembly revealed that the talks between Pakistan and IMF were largely in line with the concessions that he had secured during four months of negotiations.
Pakistan and IMF reached a staff-level agreement and the IMF Executive Board is scheduled to approve the $6-billion package on July 3.
While revealing details of closed-door talks for the first time, Umar criticized five tax measures that he said would discourage future investments and increase the burden on the poor and middle-income group.
On May 11, Pakistan and IMF reached a staff-level agreement and the IMF Executive Board is scheduled to approve the $6-billion package on July 3.
IMF terms and conditions with Asad Umar, Hafeez Shaikh
Earlier, a day after Pakistan and IMF struck a deal on the bailout package for about US$6 billion, Umar had indicated that he would point out the difference between the terms and conditions he had negotiated with IMF and those accepted by the new economic team of the government.
Following his removal from the office of finance minister and after being elected the chairman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Umar had expressed that he would share with the committee the changes between the terms and conditions discussed by him and the new team led by the Advisor to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.
The former finance minister Asad Umar has revealed that the IMF had initially demanded a 94 percent increase in gas prices and 50 percent in electricity tariffs for a loan package.
Umar, who is a close aide of PM Khan and was removed by Khan because of his “performance” in the first eight months of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, had indicated that he would speak next week. Reportedly, Umar had said that he would not comment on the IMF program during the course of negotiations but would make full disclosure once the deal was signed.
Was IMF not happy with Umar?
Following Umar’s removal, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader and former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly (NA) Syed Khursheed Shah had claimed that IMF was behind Umar’s sacking as it was not happy with his performance.
In a video statement, Shah had said that the international lender had used Reza Baqir, an economist attached with IMF who was later appointed as governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), as a middleman to convey the IMF’s reservations over Umar’s performance to the government.
Umar criticized five tax measures that he said would discourage future investments and increase the burden on the poor and middle-income group.
“According to my information, Reza Baqir – since he was with the IMF in Egypt – was used in the move to sack Umar. Through him [Baqir] messages were conveyed that the IMF was not happy with Umar,” Shah had said.
“IMF representatives thought he [Umar] was ill-prepared at times or simply did not know enough, and there would be no breakthrough in negotiations if he was not removed,” he had added.
Umar was relieved of his duties as part of a massive cabinet reshuffle in April this year. He was offered the energy portfolio but he had refused, fuelling speculation that he may have been upset at the development — a notion he vehemently denies.
Was Umar sacked owing to performance?
Hours after Umar was sacked on April 18, he had said that he was removed by Prime Minister Imran Khan because of his “performance” at the post since taking the office of the finance minister.
In an interview with a private news channel where he had shared the reason that led to his dismissal, Umar had said he was neither angry nor disappointed at the prime minister over his decision.
To a question, if his stint as the finance minister would be deemed a failure, Umar had said he would leave that for time to decide, adding since taking the job, “I’ve worked my socks off, even my family says I’m burn out.”
Shaikh was brought in to replace Umar in a major cabinet reshuffle in April. When asked the reason given for his ouster, Umar had said: “He [PM Imran] wants a new team to come in and do things.”
During the interview, Umar had said that he turned down taking the reins of the energy ministry because he was never really been in for posts and designations. He had said that he wanted to work in a post that fit his expertise.
He had also refuted claims that his future in politics was in jeopardy. “I will continue helping the PTI government whenever needed and serve my constituency.