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Saturday, June 15, 2024  
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Pakistan rejects IMF’s proposal to revisit NFC award: sources

Sources within finance ministry says lender has made similar requests in past
Reuters/File
Reuters/File

Pakistan has rejected the International Monetary Fund’s proposal to revisit the National Finance Commission (NFC) award, sources within the finance ministry said on Friday.

Neither any advice of the IMF against the Constitution would be accepted nor the provinces’ share under the NFC could be decreased, they added.

The rejection came a day after the lender called upon Pakistan to reopen discussions related to the distribution of revenues between the federation and the provinces. It was discussed during the first round of talks under the second review of the $3 billion standby-arrangement (SBA) between the IMF mission to Pakistan and the finance ministry.

Government officials disclosed to The Express Tribune on Thursday that the lender emphasised the need for reassessing the award because of the disparities in resource allocation between federal and provincial authorities.

But the demand was for the new programme worth $6 billion.

In the past, some politicians have also called for reviewing it given the amount left for the federal government after the distribution of funds to provinces.

Sources told Aaj News that the IMF has asked the government to find alternate sources for improving revenue, adding that the lender has made similar demands in the past.

They added that the Centre and provinces can make a new strategy on the NFC expenses, including bearing the power losses.

Moreover, a joint strategy can also be made on expenses related to the security and the Benazir Income Support Programme.

Earlier in the day, PPP leader Sherry Rehman said that there was no indication that the IMF was proactively seeking to meddle in Pakistan’s constitutionally agreed frame of resource allocation.

In a post on X, Rehman asked why the IMF would want to be in the middle of changing the NFC formulae of Pakistan.

“Seems that it is the federal structure that cannot collect taxes, which incidentally the provinces are doing far better than the centre,” she said.

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