Friday, September 23, 2022
Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said Pakistan needs money for the flood-affected people, so it is his current job to collect money for them.
"Currently, my job is to collect funds for the flood victims," he said, speaking to media in New York.
In a meeting with Managing Director International Monetary Fund (IMF) Karistalina Georgieva, she was requested to relax the conditions, the minister said, adding the IMF official acknowledged Pakistan's request for easing the conditions governing the IMF deal.
The World Bank has also been approached, he said, adding Pakistan will receive an additional $2 million from the WB this year.
The Imran Khan-led government signed an agreement with the IMF and the PDM's coalition government had to stick to it, he said. However, the PML-N government achieved some relaxation from the IMF, he said.
The conditions of Pakistan have changed after the widespread flash floods that damaged the cotton crops in Sindh, said Miftah Ismail. Accordingly, Pakistan will have to import cotton this year, he said.
"Pakistan will also have to import wheat as well but it will increase the current account deficit," the finance minister said.
He also said the incumbent government is doling out Rs25,000 to 4 million flood-affected families each under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), he said.
He also rubbished the rumours regarding corruption in the flood victims' fund, saying any such report of corruption is false and baseless.
The PML-N leader didn't forget to criticize PTI Chairman Imran Khan. Imran Khan gives a slight threat and then apologises, he said, adding, "He is so dangerous that he seeks pardon from everyone."
Earlier in the day [September 22], the finance minister held a virtual meeting with Vice President World Bank Martin Raiser along with Country Director World Bank Najy Benhassine. Minister of State Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha, senior officers from Finance Division and World Bank also attended the meeting.
The Finance Minister welcomed the delegation in Pakistan and thanked the entire team for their continuous assistance. The Finance Minister apprised the delegation of the devastating impacts of floods in the country.
It was shared that one-third of the country is facing floods and a number of crops especially wheat and cotton have been severely damaged. Such a loss would have huge economic repercussions on the economic stability of the country.
RISE-II and PACE-II were also discussed during the meeting.
The finance minister told the WB team that Pakistan is close to the completion of RISE-II. Various energy reform proposals were also discussed, especially related to the solarization of tube wells.
The Vice President of the World Bank praised the government's efforts in handling flood-related challenges. A delegation recognized that the recent floods have had a devastating impact on the lives of people as well as the economy of the county.
The finance minister thanked the World Bank team for their continuous support and facilitation and also said that the current government is well-equipped to deal with these challenges. He also told the delegation that the present government focuses primarily on rebuilding projects in a climate-resilient manner.