PM Khan meets IMF chief in Dubai

F.P. Report

DUBAI: Prime Minister Imran Khan met with International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde here on Sunday.

The prime minister met the IMF chief on the sidelines of the World Government Summit. Finance Minister Asad Umar, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Adviser to PM on Commerce, Textile and Industry Abdul Razak Dawood were also present during the meeting.

At the meeting, the premier apprised Lagarde of Pakistan’s perspective on a number of financial matters, including a bailout package that the country wants to deal with its current account deficit and balance of payments crisis.

Yesterday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told Reuters Pakistan wants any agreed bailout package – country’s second IMF bailout since 2013 – to be the nation’s last such economic rescue by the IMF.

Pakistan is seeking its 13th bailout since the late 1980s to deal with a current account deficit that threatens to trigger a balance of payments crisis.

But talks have been delayed by difficulties in reconciling IMF reform demands with Islamabad’s fears the push is too drastic and could hurt economic growth.

Officials had expected talks to conclude in November, but they have been delayed as Islamabad harbours concerns that the programme could derail the economy and PM Khan’s plans for his term in office.

Pakistan has in the meantime sought financial assistance from Middle Eastern allies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who have loaned it more than $10bn to ease the pressure on its dwindling foreign currency reserves.

“The problem is not the (IMF) deal, the problem is the condition attached to the deal,” Chaudhry said.

“We don’t want conditions that hurt Pakistan’s growth prospects. We want a fair deal that can actually help Pakistan in the short term, without affecting our long-term economic goals.”

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