Finance
Minister Miftah Ismail on Sunday said that the government has no intention to
increase the prices of petroleum products for now.

Addressing
a press conference, the finance minister said that Prime Minister Shehbaz
Sharif has rejected the proposal to hike petroleum prices today, saying that
the government could not put further burden on the masses.

Later,
taking to Twitter, he wrote that while the prices of petroleum products will
not be increased as of now, the government may have to “revisit the
decision soon” owning to changing circumstances and international oil
prices.

Criticising
the PTI-led government, Miftah said during the presser that the former finance
minister Shaukat Tarin had promised the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that
the then government would abolish all the subsidies on petrol.

Referring
to the devaluation of the rupee, the finance minister said that the dollar was
at Rs115 during the PML-N’s previous tenure, but it surged to Rs189 during the
four-year term of the PTI’s government.

“The
PTI-led government brought the country to the brink of economic disaster,”
he said. “We are trying to mend the situation now.”

Ismail
further said that the current coalition government was also working to improve
the agriculture sector of the country and added that the previous government
did nothing to alleviate the sector.

He
added that during the PTI government’s tenure, wheat and fertiliser were
smuggled into Afghanistan. Moreover, illegal urea and pesticides were sold
during the PTI’s era, he said and added that “not a single penny was spent
on seeds in the last four years.”

“If
we cannot fix agriculture then the country cannot move forward. Imports are
moving at a rate of Rs75 billion, while Pakistan’s exports are at Rs30
billion,” he said.

“We’ll
take corrective measures and will import edible oil worth $4 billion, while we
will not import any sugar during the current fiscal year.” 

Speaking
about the government’s talks with the IMF, Ismail added:  “I am going to
negotiate with the IMF and will resolve all the issues in a better manner.”

Stabilisation
of rupee

As
the Pakistani rupee continued its downward streak against the greenback, Ismail
on Saturday vowed that the government would take all possible measures to
stabilise the local unit and the foreign currency market.

Presiding
over a meeting of the heads of major exchange companies, Ismail expressed the
firm resolve of the government to ensure stability in the foreign currency
market.

“The
government is committed to taking all possible measures to keep the rupee
vis-a-vis the dollar stable without interfering with the market
mechanism,” he added.

State
Bank of Pakistan (SBP) deputy governor and senior officers were also among the
attendees of the meeting.

The
exchange companies presented a number of proposals to stabilise the forex
market and improve the foreign exchange position in Pakistan.

“It
was proposed that the exchange companies should be facilitated to increase the
flow of home remittances to Pakistan,” a statement said. “They
suggested measures to curb the outflow of foreign exchange from Pakistan
through informal channels.”

The
exchange companies assured that if the measures were implemented, there would
be appreciation and stability in the value of the rupee.

The
finance minister assured the participants that all possible steps would be
undertaken to protect and strengthen the economy of the country, which would
result in improving the rupee value.

 

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2022-05-15

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