Dr Shamshad Akhtar, the Caretaker Finance Minister, has stated that the current economic circumstances leave no room for additional subsidies within the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreements. Speaking to the media following a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance on Wednesday, Dr Akhtar conveyed the government’s sensitivity toward the welfare of the country’s poor, stressing that the administration is resolute in its commitment to prevent any exacerbation of hardships faced by the vulnerable. The caretaker finance minister acknowledged that the previous governments had entered into binding agreements with the IMF, elucidating that these agreements inherently encompassed provisions for subsidies. Consequently, she affirmed that the existing agreements do not permit the inclusion of supplementary subsidies, due to their predetermined nature within the terms established with the IMF. Dr Akhtar highlighted that the current administration is dedicated to crafting a comprehensive strategy aimed at bolstering the nation’s economic health. She underscored that the caretaker government’s agenda revolves around achieving economic stability and implementing measures conducive to the enhancement of overall economic conditions. One of the significant measures outlined by the caretaker finance minister involves efforts to stabilise the exchange rate between the national currency, the rupee, and the US dollar. This strategy aims to mitigate volatility in the currency market, ultimately fostering a more conducive environment for economic growth and development. The statement came a day after the International Monetary Fund refused to immediately approve Pakistan’s request for recovering August’s electricity bills over a period of six months amid raging protests in many parts of the country that continued for the fifth day running against back-breaking bills. Adding more vigour to the protests, the traders’ community also joined the protests on Tuesday, putting further pressure on the government. In a high-level meeting, the global lender sought time to review Pakistan’s request for making six installments of August’s electricity bills, which have forced the consumers to stage protests across various cities. Hours before the meeting with the IMF, the federal cabinet linked its approval to recover the bills for the month of August from October 2023 to March 2024 with the prior approval of the IMF.