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Pak to cut massive fuel, electricity subsidies

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Islamabad, May 19 (Ajit Weekly News) Pakistan is set to move swiftly on reducing massive fuel and electricity subsidies and banning about 30 luxury imports to contain fiscal and trade deficits under a commitment given to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure an economic bailout, Dawn reported.

On the first day of the formal talks with the IMF mission led by Nathan Porter in Doha, Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail virtually leading the country’s economic team cleared uncertainty on two counts — that the new coalition government would stay in office and take tough decisions, undertake reforms committed in the original fund programme and complete structural benchmarks.

Informed sources said the talks opened on a healthy note as the two sides appeared converging to key principles — separating the state’s economic decision-making from politics.

These sources said the government would be revising fuel and energy prices within days and impose a complete ban, instead of increasing duties, on a total of about 30 luxury items major among them vehicles and mobile phones besides some other no-so-big items to contain imports and thus external account. These announcements would be made shortly to progress talks towards the successful completion of the revised programme, Dawn reported.

–Ajit Weekly News

san/dpb

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