IMF asks Pakistan to hike gas, electricity tariff


ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked the Pakistani government to increase the prices of gas and electricity for consumers in order to achieve the tax collection target set for the fiscal year, reported The News on Friday.

In a recent meeting with Pakistani officials, the global lender asked the authorities to decrease the circular debt and electricity losses.

If Islamabad goes ahead with the move then it would add an extra burden on people already suffering due to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Imran Khan had rejected a hike in petroleum products for the current month to provide financial relief to the masses amid high food inflation and heavy rains in the country which would incur a Rs17 billion revenue loss to the government

According to the news report, the IMF also asked the government to allow the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) to decide the prices of the essential products.

It also urged the government to implement economic and tax reforms and emphasised that tax collection target for the first quarter (July-September) of the ongoing fiscal year must also be achieved.

The IMF asked Pakistan to collect over Rs1,000 billion in the form of taxes during the said period.

Last year, the global lender had approved $6 billion bailout package for Pakistan under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) after the country agreed to enforce flexible exchange rate, enhance taxes and end circular debt.

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