Pakistan very close to signing IMF agreement, claims Ishaq Dar

Finance minister sees staff-level agreement with IMF ‘within few days’ n Says Imran’s wrong policies led to foreign debt increase, however, PDM govt will honour PTI regime’s commitments made with IMF.

ISLAMABAD   -    Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday said that Pakistan is very close to sign the staff level agreement with the Internation­al Monetary Fund (IMF), which is satisfied with the actions tak­en by the Islamabad government to revive the loan programme.

"We seem to be very close to signing the staff-level agreement hopefully in the next few days," the Finance Minister said this while addressing a seminar ti­tled "Reviving Economic Stabili­ty through the Strengthening of Public Financial Management".

Later, talking to the media, he said that the agreement will not be finalized this week. He further said that IMF is satisfied with the actions taken by the govern­ment, as the staff level agreement would be finalized next week.

The Finance Minister reiter­ated that PML-N in its previous tenure 2013-18 had completed the first ever IMF programme in the country’s history by com­pleting all 12 reviews of the pro­gramme. He vowed to complete the ongoing IMF programme de­spite previous government had agreed the tough conditions with the Fund. He said that the ninth review has longer than it should have. He assured that

his team was absolutely committed to completing the programme to the “best” of their ability. Ishaq Dar criticized the PTI’s government for its economic policies by saying that a shattered economy was handed over to the coalition government.

Lashing out at former Prime Min­ister Imran Khan, the Finance Min­ister said that he harmed the de­velopment institutions and fuelled inflation in the country. He said that the former premier increased for­eign debt. He deplored that during last four years, the country’s debt has risen by four times and inter­est on these loans has multiplied. However, the incumbent govern­ment had decided to honour all the commitments made by the previous government with the IMF. He said that petty politics is being played on the economic situation of the coun­try by spreading rumours about de­fault, which he termed totally a non­sense attitude. The economic crisis left the previous government is even deeper and complex than that in 2013 and 1990s. However, with the prudent policies of the incum­bent government, the country had come out of quagmire. “We are now in a position to move forward with full confidence”, he said adding that Pakistan has resilience to meet the challenges as it had huge resources to cope with the problems.

Talking about debt, the Finance Minister said that there is no need to worry about it, as the coun­try’s debt to GDP ratio was im­proved from 73% to 69% in few years. Even the developed coun­tries such as USA and UK, he in­formed, had high debt to GDP ra­tios of over 100%, therefore “We need not to worry about”. He said that the country’s foreign exchange reserves have declined mainly due to the debt repayment and not get­ting new debts for last few months.

The Finance Minister once again asked all the political parties to sit together for resolving the econom­ic issues by setting apart their dif­ferences. He said that it pained him to see the economy fall to the rank of 47 in 2022 after it was predicted that Pakistan would join G20 by the end of 2030. He further said that Pakistan Stock Exchange’s (PSX) market capitalization was over $100 billion but dropped to $26 bil­lion in the last few years. 

He said process of preparing eco­nomic and fiscal frameworks for fiscal year 2023-24 will start very soon. He further said given the challenges presented by the cur­rent economic situation the up­coming budget will be a step in taking the country out of the eco­nomic quagmire. He said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has re­cently announced austerity mea­sures which will be adopted to con­trol country expenditures

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