The finance minister told a post-budget briefing in Islamabad that they came to office at a time when the nation was experiencing serious economic issues.
“I have never seen a scenario like this in Pakistan,” he added, adding that the coalition administration has no choice but to make difficult choices. Miftah said that the circular debt was 503 billion four years ago and has now risen to 2500 billion.
He went on to say that there are several causes for losses in the electricity business. “A few years ago, power from coal cost Rs5, but today it costs Rs25 per unit,” Miftah observed.
The finance minister also said that the June gasoline adjustment costs would be included in the September bill. “The circular debt of the gas industry has also escalated and reached Rs1500 billion,” he added, adding that after subsidies, gas was sold for Rs400 rather than Rs4,000.
“I informed the prime minister that we needed to make harsh choices or we wouldn’t be able to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund” (IMF). The prime minister is displeased with the increase in petroleum product prices. The ministers hate me every time I provide a summary in this respect,” he continued.
Miftah claimed that the government was still providing an Rs19 subsidy on petrol and an Rs53 subsidy on diesel and that Sri Lanka also provided subsidies to its citizens before defaulting. “Today, Sri Lanka is buying costly oil, and they don’t have enough money to provide medications for their people,” he continued.
According to the federal minister, whoever becomes Prime Minister must engage friendly nations. “How long will we be at the mercy of our friends?” he bemoaned, adding, “Pakistan is closest to us; we must all work together to heal it.”