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Parliament will be briefed on IMF talks: Hammad Azhar

Parliament will be briefed on IMF talks: Hammad Azhar

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar told the Senate that both the houses of parliament and their finance committees would be briefed on the ongoing talks with the International Monitory Fund (IMF).

He was responding to a calling attention notice of Senator Sherry Rehman who asked the minister to take the parliament into confidence before making any deal with the IMF.

Hammad Azhar said the talks with IMF continued for last few months, however the Fund had changed its negotiation team March, which was on the visit to Pakistan.  “We have made a commitment to take the parliament into confidence” the minister assured.

As regards the criticism on rupee devaluation, he said in the first eight months of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government, the rupee had been devalued by 10 percent, which was higher than the rate it was devalued today.

He said Senator Sherry had made a sweeping statement without being aware of the facts about inflation rate. The inflation rate during the PPP government was 25pc whereas today it was 9.3pc.

He said the oil prices at global level had increased by around 40pc, however as compared to regional counties, the Government of Pakistan did not pass on the burden of increased oil prices to the people.

The Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), he said, had advised to increase the oil prices but the government refused to do so. Similarly, the government had not acceded to the OGRA’s advice to increase the petroleum levy by Rs 14 and raised it by only Rs 6. The petrol prices, however, would ultimately have to be increased, he added.

He said the present government was trying hard to overcome the budget deficit left by the previous regimes, Even the IMF team had noted that no government in  Pakistan had ever inherited such a huge deficit, he added.