Aurangzeb lands in US to meet IMF, WB officials for loan talks

WASHINGTON D.C.  -  Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb has arrived in Washington D.C, United States, yesterday to participate in the spring meetings of IMF and World Bank.

On arrival at the airport, Ambassador of Pakistan to United States Masood Khan and the officers of the Embassy of Pakistan welcomed the finance minister.

During his stay in US, the finance minister will meet IMF and World Bank officials. Meetings with international media and think tank representatives are also included in the Finance Minister’s schedule.

According to sources, negotiations between Pakistan and the IMF for a new bailout package will begin next week, with the country formally making a request to the global lender in this regard.

There is also a possibility of a meeting between Finance Minister Aurangzeb and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

Members of the Pakistan economic team would also participate in the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank.

Earlier on Thursday, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva had stated that Pakistan was in discussions with the IMF on a potential follow-up programme to its nine-month $3 billion stand-by arrangement.

During an event at the Atlantic Council think-tank, Georgieva said that Pakistan was successfully completing its existing programme and its economy was performing somewhat better, with reserves now being built up.

However, she expressed the need for Pakistan to address important issues.

“There is a commitment to continue on this path, and the country is turning to the fund for potentially having a follow-up program,” Georgieva said, flagging issues that Pakistan still needed to address.

“There are very important issues to be solved in Pakistan: the tax base, how the richer part of society contributes to the economy, the way public spending is directed, and of course, creating ... a more transparent environment.”

Pakistan and the IMF last month reached a staff-level agreement on the second and last review of the $3 billion stand-by arrangement, which, if cleared by the global lender’s board, will release about $1.1 billion to Pakistan.

Before his departure to Washington, Finance Minister Aurangzeb met with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday and briefed him about his upcoming visit to the United States.

The minister discussed his scheduled meetings with officials from the IMF, World Bank and other financial institutions with the premier.

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