The international lender has given Pakistan a fresh set of demands and requested that they impose around Rs600 billion in additional levies. The information came to light on Saturday’s episode of The Review, a chat show.
The show’s hosts, Shahbaz Rana and Kamran Yousaf revealed that the government has not yet acceded to IMF demands because the populace is already dealing with rapidly rising inflation and the ruling coalition cannot risk further depleting its political capital, particularly given that the former ruling party is marching toward Islamabad.
Rana opined that it was extremely improbable that the government would agree to the IMF’s demands because it already suffered the greatest loss in support and popularity as a result of the rising expense of living and couldn’t afford to suffer more.
He further mentioned that the IMF had encouraged Pakistan to inform the task force against corruption, which the administration had agreed to in June of this year.
According to the deal, Rana stated that Pakistan will provide a thorough analysis of the anti-corruption institutional structure, namely the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), by a task group with the cooperation of independent experts with foreign experts and civil society organisations by January 2023.
He noted that the task force would provide suitable structural reform measures that would increase the independence of institutions that fight corruption, shield them from political interference and retaliation, and establish transparency and accountability checks against abuse.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a former premier, was suggested to lead the task committee, he continued, but no decision has been made as of yet.
While the hosts were discussing PM Shehbaz’s first trip to China, which began on November 1, they revealed that Pakistan had asked China to refinance its $6.3 billion debt, which is due to mature in the following eight months.
A big list of new projects and requests was prepared before the PM’s tour, Rana said, adding that another suggestion to seek a new Chinese loan was also being considered.
Prime Minister Shehbaz was one of the first international leaders to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping after his historic third-term victory, Yousaf noted in the show.
Yousaf responded in the positive when asked if President Xi still saw Belt-and-Road (BRI) as a top priority, noting that the project’s architect had recently entered Xi’s cabinet as a sign that Xi valued the initiative highly.