Govt taking one step forward, two steps back on economy, says Tarin

News Desk
Thursday, Jun 23, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Criticising the incumbent government for “poor management”, former finance minister Shaukat Tarin said on Wednesday the coalition government was taking one step forward and two steps back vis-à-vis economic situation.

Addressing a news conference, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Tarin endorsed former prime minister Imran Khan’s stance regarding an alleged “foreign conspiracy”, saying everybody will soon know whose hand was behind the economic instability, Geo News reported.

He also said the present government “should have purchased cheap oil from Russia” as the previous Khan-led government had “already written a letter” in that regard and lamented the matter with Russia “was not taken forward”.

“They [the government] have taken a step back into purana (old) Pakistan and haven’t taken any concrete decisions in the last six weeks,” he said, highlighting that amid the “indecisiveness”, rupee lost its value against US dollar.

“Our [PTI government’s] approach was progressive while theirs is in line with Purana Pakistan,” he said. Regarding the broad agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the PTI leader said the federal budget announced by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on June 10 was a “mere formality” with a “5.5 per cent growth rate and provisional surplus of Rs800 billion”.

The former finance minister warned the price of electricity will increase to unprecedented levels, claiming inflation had surged to 28 per cent and was expected to increase up to 35-40 per cent as the government plans to impose Rs50 in petroleum levy.

Commenting on the tax proposals given in the finance bill, Tarin maintained the government “isn’t taking measures” to increase the tax net and was instead “burdening the existing taxpayers”.

“How can people invest in such conditions? Markets are confused and are unwilling to trust the government,” he said. “The reason behind the alliance of all major political parties, except the PTI, to form a government was an amendment to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) bill,” he claimed, questioning why the PTI was removed from power.

Tarin reiterated “it is not late” and “elections should be called afresh immediately”.

Speaking on the occasion, Muzzammil Aslam said the coalition government accused the PTI of signing an agreement with the IMF due to which prices increased in the country. He said the PTI government agreed to increase electricity prices by Rs5 per unit, while the coalition government increased the rates by Rs8 per unit.

“We are hoping and praying that the coalition government manages to reach a staff-level agreement with the IMF,” Aslam said, emphasising a supply chain crisis had struck Pakistan.