Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has rejected in categorical terms the possibility of removing the fuel and energy subsidies stating that he would tell the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it wouldn’t be possible to do so as the nation could not bear the consequences.
Ismail was talking to the media before departing to Doha where he is scheduled to meet the IMF for the resumption of the $6 billion loan facility. He said that the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif were not in favour of removing subsidies.
He said that the deal finalised by Shaukat Tarin demanded of the government to raise fuel prices by up to Rs150 per litre. He vehemently rejected the notion of increasing the fuel prices stating that the PML-N’s core leadership including him, the finance minister, strongly opposed the idea.
IMF has been pressing Pakistan to remove the fuel subsidies in order for the loan facility to resume. But, the leadership is finding it hard to take an unpopular yet tough economic measure fearing the outrage it might cause.