Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has said that the government will permit textile sector to import cotton to meet its demand after the crop sown on an estimated 1.4 million acres in Sindh has destroyed due to devastating monsoon rain and floods.

In a press conference on Saturday, he promised that the government would aid the textile sector by allowing the import of cotton so it could fulfill its needs.

He noted that date and sugarcane crops have also been destroyed while issues are being faced in transporting tomatoes and onions to major cities of Pakistan, which was in turn driving their prices upward.

“Half of the onion crop in Sindh has also destroyed completely,” he said. “As an initial step, we have suspended duty and taxes on import of onions and tomatoes.”

According to the finance minister, import of onion from Afghanistan resulted in reduction of its price in many parts of the country.

“Sugar and ghee prices are also falling due to efforts of the government,” he said. “We will control inflation in the next two months.”

His press conference comes as a follow up to former finance minister Shaukat Tarin who addressed reporters at the Karachi Press Club in which the latter urged the government to secure relief from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in view of floods and import cheap oil from Russia.

Responding to his remarks, Miftah said that people were suffering due to floods but the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was involved in political point scoring.

Terming the appeal to buy oil from Russia baseless, Miftah said that it might not be compatible with refineries of Pakistan.

“Pakistan has never bought oil from Russia and the PTI did not do it either during its rule,” he said, also blaming Tarin for trying to jeopardise the IMF deal at the last minute.

He claimed that the PTI paid $25,000 per month to American lobbying firm to improve their relations between the political party and the US government.

Miftah also censured the PTI for “violating the IMF deal in February to give amnesty to its friends.”

If the PTI had cleared the no-confidence motion, it would have ended the subsidy and raised petrol prices in April 2022, Miftah said.

“Even the Finance Division was informed of this and PTI is just selling lies,” he said. “It is also justifying its conspiracy against IMF programme.”

Miftah, however, admitted that the economy was facing a renewed wave of inflation due to floods and prices of food items had soared.

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