QUETTA: Lamenting that the burden of debt has mortgaged the future of nation’s generations, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said it will be a matter of great shame if Pakistan has to once again return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for another loan after three years. “To free ourselves from this cycle of debt, the federal and provincial governments, along with the relevant institutions, must work together,” the premier said while addressing a signing ceremony to launch a significant initiative aimed at the solarisation of agricultural tube wells in Balochistan on Monday. “If we make this collective effort, future generations will be grateful. However, if we fail to make tough decisions, we will find ourselves seeking assistance from the IMF once again,” the PM, who was on a daylong visit to Quetta, said. Pakistan is looking to strike a staff-level deal on an IMF bailout of more than $6 billion this month after addressing all of the Washington-based lender’s requirements in its annual budget.   Moreover, the country’s debt has soared since the mid-2000s, as authorities failed to invest a gusher of loans from international bondholders and countries including China and Gulf nations into productive, export-oriented sectors. Minister for Finance Muhammad Aurangzeb warned on Sunday that Pakistan would continue to seek the IMF bailouts “if it fails to boost tax revenue”. The finance czar said that he was “relatively confident” of reaching a staff-level agreement with the global lender this month for an estimated loan of $6 to $8 billion.  “But it will not be our last Fund programme if we don’t bring our tax revenues up,” said the finance minister while speaking during an interview with the Financial Times.  The federal government presented the tax-loaded Rs18.877 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 (FY25) last month, aimed at shoring up public revenue .and satisfying the IMF, which has repeatedly demanded improved tax collection.



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