Another IMF Bailout Inevitable For Macroeconomic Stability: PM Shehbaz

PM Shehbaz says Pakistan faces a revenue shortfall of around Rs5 trillion; says circular debt has swelled to a crushing Rs5 trillion

Another IMF Bailout Inevitable For Macroeconomic Stability: PM Shehbaz

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has indicated that as the ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) stand-by arrangement nears its conclusion, Pakistan will likely seek another three-year programme with the Fund to stabilise the national economy. 

While addressing the Special Investment Facilitation Council's (SIFC) apex committee on Thursday, the premier said, "A new tranche of loans is likely to be received from the international lender in a few days, but we would need another programme." The event was attended by civil and military authorities.

PM Shehbaz stated that the civil-military leadership, which included elected parliamentarians from various political parties, sent a strong message of solidarity for the country's progress and prosperity by attending today's session. 

He said that the last coalition government, which included 13 political parties, opted to put the country ahead of politics.

"There are significant difficulties for the national economy. The SIFC is an important platform that was established largely to reduce barriers to foreign investment, and it has had multiple meetings over the previous eight months. General Syed Asim Munir, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), was instrumental in the development of the SIFC, he noted. 

PM Shehbaz also emphasised the importance of implementing IMF-sponsored measures to achieve macroeconomic stability in the nation. "We have Rs9 trillion in revenues, which should be Rs13 to 14 trillion." 

He stated that the federal government intends to digitise the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to improve taxation and collection processes. Moreover, electricity theft costs the government Rs400 billion each year. He also appreciated the efforts of the caretaker government in this regard, noting that anti-power measures helped save some Rs87 billion in electricity costs.

He further mentioned that power and gas circular debt had swelled to a crushing Rs5 trillion. "The centre has a coalition government, but provinces are ruled by different political parties. "The centre cannot face all issues alone; thus, we must put aside our political differences and work together to get the country out of catastrophe." 

PM Shehbaz also asked for the speedy privatization of loss-making state-owned enterprises like the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which has accrued a debt of Rs825 billion.