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Pakistan stops clearing bills, salaries of government departments

In the wake of lingering economic and financial difficulties, the Pakistan Finance Ministry has directed the Accountant General Pakistan Revenues (AGPR) to stop clearing the bills of the federal ministries/divisions and attached departments till further orders, it is learnt. 

Even the clearance of salary bills has also been stopped. Top official sources confirmed to The News on Friday night that the operational cost related releases faced difficulties mainly because of lingering financial difficulties being faced by the country.

Finance Division top guns did not respond. When Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was contacted, he said it might be untrue but promised to get back after confirming it.

The sources said they went to the AGPR for clearance of their outstanding bills but were informed that the Ministry of Finance had directed them to stop clearing all the bills, including the salaries, because of the prevailing difficult financial positions. 

The exact reasons could not be ascertained why the clearance of bills was stopped on immediate basis, The News reported.

The lingering financial difficulties could be cited as major reason behind this move. 

The sources said the salaries and pensions of defence related institutions had already been cleared for next month.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday unveiled a host of austerity measures to save 200 billion PKR — aimed to keep the country afloat as the nation buckles up to meet the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) conditions, Geo News reported.

Pakistan is desperate to unlock the next tranche worth $1.1 billion loan facility with the IMF but is struggling to meet tough conditions set by the global financier.

The IMF is demanding that Pakistan boosts its pitifully low tax base, end exemptions for the export sector, and raise artificially low energy prices that are meant to help poor families.

The nation is in dire need of funds as it battles a wrenching economic crisis as the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)-held foreign exchange reserves barely cover one month of imports, Geo News reported.

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