ON the one hand, Pakistan is poising itself to ask the International Monetary Fund for a waiver of one of its conditions for lending Pakistan the money associated with its escape from default, according to a report in this newspaper. At the same time, the government is contemplating an increase in the electricity tariff as it contemplates an end to loadshedding by year-end, according to the Water and Power Minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf while answering a question in Parliament. The country is once again to familiarize itself with the sight of IMF review missions, and the first is due next month to decide whether or not Pakistan qualifies for the next tranche under the IMF programme which was started with an MF loan averting Pakistan's default on its foreign debt. The condition for which Pakistan is seeking a waiver is that the government control its spending, and expenditures which the government had agreed to cut had actually gone up. According to the government, this was because the inflationary pressures continued unabated, despite the 15 percent raise in the State Bank's base interest rate, which had been another IMF conditionality. Also, the perilous internal and external security situation had led to the incurring of extra expenditure, such as when the armed forces had shifted from the Western to the Eastern border. Yet the government did have an agreement, and thus it will need a waiver from the IMF, or else it will be deemed to have failed to meet an IMF conditionality. An alternative which the government has so far not agreed to has been the slashing of the development expenditure. This would have a negative effect on growth, and probably that was why the IMF had not suggested it so far, but now that is the only possible avenue it has. The IMF goes on thus subsidising government extravagance, with no sign of any restraint being exercised. Pakistan's only way out is an export drive, but the possibility of a power tariff rise looms, and puts paid to that idea. Already, whatever tariff raises have been carried out have sparked two reactions: protests from the consumer, and industry proclaiming that it was about to close. Can increases in the tariff have any other effect in future? WAPDA has reacted to the news that loadshedding is about to end with the news that there is to be a tariff hike, no matter what the consequences for trade, industry and agriculture. There is no sign that the government has evolved policies which boost these engines of growth, despite all its claims.