Pakistan Resumes Talks with IMF; New Tax Slabs Soon

ISLAMABAD: Cash-stripped Pakistan resumed talks with IMF virtually in a bid for a massive bailout on Monday. Analysts and officials hinted that the nuclear-armed nation would impose new taxes of 170 billion rupees this month.

The comments came from economists and political analysts after the IMF delayed the release of a crucial USD 1.1 billion portion of a 2019 deal worth USD 6 billion, on hold since December over Pakistan’s failure to meet the terms. The latest round of the talks between Pakistan and the IMF concluded Friday with the fund recommending steps including imposing new taxes.

The new talks between IMF and the country come as a blow to the govt as the PM struggles to avoid a default amidst conditions worsened by floods and a surge in militant violence.

Pakistan already is struggling with recovery from record-breaking floods, which killed 1,739 people in the summer 2022 and destroyed 2 million homes.

In January, dozens of countries and international institutions at an UN-backed conference in Geneva pledged more than USD 9 billion to help Pakistan recover and rebuild from devastating summer floods, but economists and Pakistani officials say those funds will be given for the projects, and not in cash.

Officials say several friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had assured Sharif’s government that they will financially help Islamabad but they too wanted Pakistan to complete the 2019 IMF program.

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