Home/ News / India/  Pakistan stops salaries, pensions as economic crisis worsens

The cash-strapped Pakistan government has reportedly instructed the Accountant General of Pakistan Revenues (AGPR) to halt the clearing of all bills, including salaries and pensions, of federal ministries and attached departments until further notice.

According to The News, the move comes as the country is reeling under economic crisis, which is causing difficulties in operational cost-related releases. However, the exact the reason for the same is not known.

The report cited, the salaries and pensions of defence-related institutions have been cleared for next month, however, the government's decision to halt the clearing of bills has left many with outstanding bills.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's Finance Division on Saturday denied reports. The division clarified the reports as false, Dawn newspaper reported.

A release issued by the Finance Division on Saturday, however, said, "There are rumours floating around that the government has instructed to stop payment of pay, pension, etc. This is completely false as no such instructions have been given by Finance Division, which is the concerned federal ministry."

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the "fake news" was being spread to "cause harm to the national economic interests", Dawn reported.

"Kindly refrain from circulating such reports and news without verifying from the concerned ministry," he urged the people.

Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves, which fell to a critically low level of USD 2.9 billion a few weeks ago, have now risen closer to USD 4 billion, even as the country eagerly waits for the USD 1.1 billion tranches of funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has promised to complete the IMF programme and fulfill all international obligations. In an effort to unlock the IMF tranches, the government of Pakistan recently approved a "mini-budget" that includes increasing sales tax from 17 to 25 percent on imports ranging from cars and household appliances to chocolates and cosmetics. A general sales tax was also raised from 17 to 18 percent. The government is expected to unveil austerity measures in the coming days, and Dar has acknowledged that "we will have to take difficult decisions."

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 26 Feb 2023, 06:23 AM IST
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