MABAD While the floods have almost paralysed the security-obsessed government especially its economic managers, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has offered to help manage the calamity-hit economy.
Finance Ministry on Tuesday categorically declared that it was too early to say anything about the estimates of the damages to the various sectors of the economy. But an IMF spokesman told a questioner in Washington that the floods would cause a major harm to the economy.
The IMF spokesman was also reported as saying, the IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn had told Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari that the Fund stands ready to discuss how to help Pakistan manage the economic impact of the floods.
On the other hand, sources told TheNation that the Finance Ministry was not yet ready to make a formal request to the IMF as near future forecast about further rains and floods was not allowing them to do so. That is why, the government has been asking for rescue and relief aid so far and is looking for ways to measure the actual economic loss due to the worst ever floods of the country. According to the sources, the Finance Ministry was doing homework to prepare a briefing for the IMF on the sidelines of its already scheduled economy review meetings in Washington on August 22-23.
Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh meanwhile has launched a series of meetings with diplomats aimed at briefing them on the flood devastation.
First meeting of the sort he held on Tuesday with the Ambassadors of Islamic countries based in Pakistan.
Besides thanking them for their immediate support, he informed them the present flood was one of the worst natural calamities Pakistan has ever faced in its history. Apart from damages to physical and social infrastructure, the flood would have negative impact on the economy of Pakistan. It has already damaged crops in certain parts of the country. The Minister also informed that after the flood is over, the government will undertake an exercise to assess the damages caused to the physical and social infrastructure and would devise strategy for reconstruction of the flood affected areas.