Pakistan surrenders to another IMF demand

ISLAMABAD: Desperate to revive the loan programme to stabilise the falling economy, Pakistan on Wednesday gave in to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) demand of imposing a power surcharge on the consumers in the next fiscal year.

The Pakistani officials are baffled by IMF’s “shifting goalposts” as the country makes hectic efforts to woo the lender which has set new conditions to unlock the $6.5 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) signed in 2019.

The cash-strapped country is undertaking key measures to secure a $1 billion tranche from the IMF under the ninth review of the EFF. Measures include raising taxes, and removing blanket subsidies and artificial curbs on the exchange rate.

Succumbing to one more IMF demand, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), which met under the chair of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, has approved the slapping of a power surcharge up to Rs3.82 per unit from March to June 2023.

The power surcharge of Rs2.63 per unit on average will continue to be charged from power consumers in the next fiscal year 2023-24 in order to implement another tough condition imposed by the IMF for reviving the stalled IMF program.

This power surcharge will also be applicable on power consumers of K-Electric.

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