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Pakistan: Not lowering fuel subsidies till govt survival assured, PM Sharif tells allies

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Islamabad | May 19, 2022 9:24:20 AM IST
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif after consultations with allies decided that the subsidy on oil prices would only be withdrawn if the National Security Committee unanimously guarantees the government's survival till August 2023.

Pakistan is under considerable pressure from the International Monetary fund (IMF) to cut down on the fuel subsidies for taking the bailout package discussions further.

In a consultation meeting on Tuesday night, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met his coalition allies to discuss the country's slumping economy, reported The News International.

With Pakistan's politics in an extremely divisive state, its economy is in a mess.

The economy is in dire need of IMF support without which, most economists fear, the country could face default due to political uncertainty, added The News International. Islamabad could not get the crucial nod from the IMF, which had put on hold its program for Pakistan because of the Imran Khan government's decision to provide the huge oil subsidy.

However, the present government entered negotiations with IMF, which pressed the Shehbaz Sharif government to withdraw the oil subsidy in order to resurrect the derailed program.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is confident of meeting the economic challenges. However, he agreed with the alliance partners that without the required certainty about the tenure of his government, no administration could deliver on the reforms necessary to save the economy.

An informed source told The News here on Wednesday that the next two days are crucial in this regard. "Either you will hear an announcement of a rise in oil prices or the National Assembly will be dissolved," the source told The News.

The News further stated that the allies were of the view that the government could not take the risk of increasing the oil prices, provided it was assured of the required support by the relevant quarters.

In January 2020, inflation had risen to 14.6 per cent in the country, a local media report claimed, adding that the average inflation rate between July 2021 to January 2022 stood at 10.26 per cent.

Besides politicians, traders, farmers, businessmen, and people from all walks of life have expressed serious concerns over the growing crisis and price hike in the country, making it difficult for the middle and working classes to survive,

The Pakistani rupee continues to witness a downward streak while the country's economy suffers harshly. (ANI)

 
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