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Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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No need to declare financial emergency: Miftah Ismail

The Finance Minister says Pakistan has come out of the economic crisis after an increase in petroleum prices.

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Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Monday said there is no need to declare a financial emergency as Pakistan has come out of the economic crisis after an increase in petroleum prices.

In a Tweet, Ismail said we are out of the financial crisis as the price of petrol increased twice and hiked up to Rs209.86, while there has also been a massive increase in other petroleum products.

However, the finance minister said the prime minister would soon be announcing austerity measures to reduce government expenditure.

Read more: Govt increases petrol price to Rs209.86 per litre

To reassure the markets, Ismail said, “The prime minister will at some point announce austerity measures to save government expenditures. But there is not going to be any declaration of financial emergency. Nor is there any financial emergency. After two increases in petrol prices, we are out of the financial crisis.”

Since May 26, the government has increased the prices of various petroleum products by 40 to 51 percent to revive the stalled multi-billion dollars International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme and scale down fuel subsidies that had climbed to Rs125bn per month during the previous government.

In another Tweet, the finance minister also said there was “absolutely no plan” to freeze foreign currency accounts, Roshan Digital Accounts, or take over people’s private lockers.

“We have never even contemplated these steps. Nor will we ever do it. Speculation on social media about this is wrong and coming from biased quarters,” Ismail said.

On the other hand, the State Bank of Pakistan and the government dispelled rumours circulating on social media that the government or State Bank was considering freezing or placing restrictions on withdrawals from Foreign Currency Accounts (FCAs), Roshan Digital Accounts (RDAs), and Safety Deposit Lockers (SDLs).

“Such rumours are absolutely incorrect and baseless,” the joint statement said, adding that ‘such a proposal has neither been considered presently nor in the past.’

It said, “The government and SBP refute baseless claims circulating on social media regarding FCAs, RDAs and SDLs.”

The statement said that both the government and the central bank “assure all account holders maintaining FCAs, RDAs and SDLs in banks in Pakistan that their accounts and lockers are completely safe, and that there is no proposal under consideration to put any restriction on them.”

The joint statement assured that foreign currency accounts, including Roshan Digital Accounts, were legally protected under the Foreign Currency Accounts (Protection) Ordinance 2001. It said the “Government and the State Bank were committed to protecting all the financial assets in Pakistan including the ones mentioned above.”