LAHORE: Pakistan’s coalition government has no plans to impose any financial emergency in the country, as it is out of the financial crisis after two increases in the petrol prices in the past two weeks, finance czar Miftah Ismail said.
“The prime minister will at some point announce austerity measures to save government expenditures. But there is not going to be any declaration of financial emergency,” he said while talking to Business Recorder on Monday.
Such a plan includes limiting time in commercial areas, rationing petroleum and other quotas, and other small measures, to lower the energy imports.
The finance czar also shared the development in a series of tweets. Pakistan is seeking a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund to steer its economy out of the crisis. The government, who was initially reluctant to take such measures, curtailed the fuel subsidy announced by the former PTI government as part of the IMF demand to revive the loan programme.
Miftah, who has described such subsidies as “landmines”, claimed that the premier had to approve such measures “with a heavy heart” and had announced ‘sasta petrol sasta diesel’ scheme to provide relief to the people.
“Nor is there any financial emergency. After two increases in petrol prices, we are out of the financial crisis,” he said and rebuffed any impression to freeze foreign currency accounts or Roshan Digital Accounts or take over people private lockers.
Pakistan’s central bank also spoke in the same tone while describing such speculation on social media as “wrong” and coming from “biased quareters”. “Foreign currency accounts including Roshan Digital Accounts are protected under Foreign Currency Accounts (Protection) Ordinance, 2001 and GoP and SBP are committed to protect all financial assets in Pakistan including the ones mentioned above,” it said in a series of tweets.
“We have never even contemplated these [freezing accounts] steps. Nor will we ever do it,” Miftah said as the government is scheduled to present the annual budget on June 10. The global lender was also waiting for the budget after the meetings with Pakistan in Doha, Qatar, according to media reports.
Moreover, the National Assembly session for the budget started on Monday and a joint session of both houses of parliament would be held on June 9.