The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Wednesday advised Pakistan to tax the wealthy in order to provide relief to the poor segment of society.
In an interview with media after meeting with caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said, “Of course, it is difficult but Pakistan has to do it in line with the IMF programme as we stand by the people of Pakistan.”
To a question, she said it is in the interest of the people of Pakistan that the country revitalises its economy and addresses some of the “shortcomings” of the past, in reference to reforms the lender is asking the country to execute.
Pakistan has signed a $3 billion bailout package with the IMF under which it has agreed to restructure the bleeding energy sector, introduce reforms in state-owned enterprises, and increase tax collection.
However, the steps taken by the government have made lives difficult for the masses as a massive hike in electricity and petrol prices has pushed inflation to a record level.
The IMF has rejected the proposals floated by the caretaker government to provide relief amid skyrocketing food and energy prices.
“Let me send a simple message to everybody in Pakistan. What we are asking in our programme is please collect more taxes from the wealthy and please protect the poor people of Pakistan,” Kristalina Georgieva noted.
“I do believe that it is in line with what people in Pakistan would like to see for the country.”
Earlier, PM Kakar — who is in New York to attend the 78th UNGA session — termed the meeting with the IMF chief as “constructive”.
He said that the meeting “emphasized extending our mutual commitment towards bolstering economic stability and growth in Pakistan”.
The prime minister expressed gratitude for the IMF’s approval of the loan to support Pakistan’s economy, a statement issued by the PM Office said.
Kakar briefed the IMF chief on various measures taken by the government to stabilise and revive the country’s economy.
“The prime minister affirmed that these initiatives aim to create a stable and conducive environment for sustainable economic growth and investment. Additionally, a strong focus had been placed on protecting the vulnerable segments of society.”
In response, IMF MD Kristalina Georgieva appreciated Pakistan’s concerted efforts in implementing policies and reforms to revive the economy.
She assured that the IMF remained committed to continued engagement with Pakistan.