22 September, 2020

Two Ways To Harakiri

Nawaz Sharif is caught between the IMF and his political future  

Two Ways To Harakiri

It's a question of commitment-on defence expenditure and taxation. Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif may still defend his government against criticism for its failure to revive the country's battered economy, but senior officials in his finance ministry concede that the message has penetrated the top echelons of power. That is the reason for Sharif not being able to keep his earlier commitment made to the public that he will not compromise with the International Monetary Fund (imf).

Charges for fuel, power, gas and phones-apart from the prices of basic commodities-have gone up due to an increase in taxes. And now Sharif is faced with the biggest challenge. The imf has made it clear that the government has to make a firm commitment, prior to the release of funds, that it will levy a 15 per cent general sales tax (gst) up to the retail level. With traders being Sharif's main constituency, their alliance with the opposition on this issue can create serious problems for him. As the government is trying to persuade the traders...



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