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Imran, Lagarde meeting may accelerate loan approval process

NEWS DESK
Islamabad
Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST) on Wednesday said the meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chief Christine Lagarde might help expedite the process of sanction of the loan.
Pakistan badly need a loan of six billion dollars and it is engaged in talks with IMF officials for a bailout package since months with little success but the situation may change now, it said.
The government has recently increased the price of gas and electricity but IMF is demanding to do more which is unjustified, as it will put an unbearable burden on masses, said Patron ICST Shahid Rasheed Butt.
He said that the IMF should not try to get its important demands fulfilled before the loan but give some time to the government so that the poor can be shielded from its impact to some extent.
Shahid Rasheed Butt said that energy prices have been revised upward while the exchange rate has seen record erosion but these steps have not satisfied the lender which is asking for more upfront steps.
IMF wants to increase revenue collection target, step up the price of electricity and gas, reduce the deficit, shrink losses in state-run enterprises, privatize institutions, reform critical sectors including the bleeding energy sector, more autonomy to the central bank and weaken local currency, he added.
Majority of the steps taken in the next budget will be based on the demands of IMF which will trigger inflation, choke development, hit production and result in widespread unemployment, he warned.
The masses already reeling under inflation will have to pay the price of the IMF deal, Butt said.



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