IMF's Georgieva tells cash-strapped Pak to 'tax the rich, protect the poor'

"What we are asking in our programme is that please collect more taxes from the wealthy and please protect the poor people of Pakistan," the IMF chief said

IMF, International Monetary Fund

International Monetary Fund (Photo: Bloomberg)

Press Trust of India New York/Islamabad

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International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has urged Pakistan to collect more taxes from the wealthy and protect the poor, as the cash-strapped country reels under double-digit inflation after securing a bailout 
in July, media reports said on Thursday.
Speaking to Geo News after meeting Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York, Georgieva said that it is in the interest of the people of Pakistan that the country revitalises its economy and addresses some of the “shortcomings” of the past.
“What we are asking in our programme is that please collect more taxes from the wealthy and please protect the poor people of Pakistan,” the IMF chief said.
“I do believe this is in line with what people in Pakistan would like to see for the country,” she added.
“Shortcomings of the past should be addressed, Georgieva urged, referring to reforms the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has sought in the country, Geo News reported from New York.
Her comments come amid soaring inflation in Pakistan after the Washington-based global lender transferred $1.2 billion to the cash-strapped country in July, a part of the $3 billion bailout programme for nine months to support the government’s efforts to stabilise the country’s ailing economy.
The steps taken by the government to get the IMF’s approval made lives difficult for the masses, as a massive hike in electricity and petrol prices pushed inflation to a record level, the report said.
Pakistan’s inflation leapt to 27.4 per cent in August.
The IMF MD  took to social media platform X and said, “Very good meeting with Pakistan's PM @anwaar_kakar today on Pakistan’s economic prospects. We agreed on the vital need for strong policies to ensure stability, foster sustainable and inclusive growth, prioritise revenue collection, and protection for the most vulnerable in Pakistan.” 
Caretaker Prime Minister Kakar also posted on X, terming his meeting with Georgieva a “constructive dialogue” and said it “emphasised extending our mutual commitment towards bolstering economic stability and growth in Pakistan.” According to The Express Tribune newspaper, an official handout released by the Prime Minister’s Office said Kakar expressed gratitude for the global lender’s approval of the $3 billion standby agreement to support Pakistan’s economy.
The development comes a day after the ADB warned that the downside risks to Pakistan’s economic outlook remain exceptionally high.

Pak earmarks 10 state-run companies for privatisation 
Pakistan’s caretaker government moved on Thursday to improve governance at state-owned companies and earmarked 10 for privatisation or turnaround efforts. Under the $3 billion bailout package from the IMF, this was critical in averting a sovereign debt default, as state-owned entities’ losses are burning a hole in government finances. reuters

First Published: Sep 21 2023 | 11:58 PM IST

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