Pakistan Finance Minister Asad Umar (File photo)
Pakistan Finance Minister Asad Umar (File photo)

Pak close to signing bailout agreement with IMF, says Finance Minister Asad

ANI | Updated: Apr 13, 2019 17:03 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 13 (ANI): Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will soon sign a package for bailing out the country’s ailing economy, Finance Minister Asad Umar has said.
“During the last two days, we have, more or less, reached an understanding. In the next one day or two, we hope to reach a full agreement and then we will share the details with you,” Dawn quoted the Finance Minister as saying during a press briefing at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington on Thursday (local time) night.
Addressing a small group of Pakistani-Americans at the embassy, Asad said that the IMF would send its staff on a mission to Islamabad later this month to finalise technical details of the financial programme.
Asad flew to Washington on Tuesday to attend spring meetings of the World Bank Group, including the IMF and the Asian Development Bank. On the sidelines, the Finance Minister also held a bilateral meeting with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The meeting was considered to be of vital importance as the US support is crucial for any World Bank or IMF package.
The IMF, in an annual report released on Tuesday, warned that Pakistan’s growth rate may remain at 2.5 per cent till 2024 unless Islamabad undertakes much-needed economic reforms.
During the meetings in Washington, the leaders discussed projects in which the World Bank and the IMF could further increase its investments in Pakistan.
Asad did not disclose the size of the proposed bailout package but asserted that his country made certain changes in the economy before approaching the IMF, and therefore the current account deficit was less than 70 per cent from the last year.
Answering a question on the IMF’s concern regarding China, Asad assured that there would be no overlapping between the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project and the IMF programme.
Asad said that the total size of the CPEC projects right now was USD 27 billion, out of which USD four billion includes equity and some domestic debt.
"The total debt which is related to the CPEC is about USD 20 billion or less than that," he explained while noting that the debt that Pakistan owes to China is just about 10 per cent of the country's total public debt.
Earlier this week, three US lawmakers urged the Trump administration to oppose the IMF bailout to Pakistan arguing that Islamabad would use the package to pay off the debt it owes to China under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects, state media reported.
In addition, Washington had further linked the IMF package to Pakistan meeting its obligations as laid out by the Financial Action Task Force, which tracks and tackles money laundering and terrorism funding.
Asad said that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has to make a decision by September. However, Pakistan has made a significant improvement in its system and increased its compliance.
"There's also a general acknowledgment that Pakistan has taken a very clear stance in terms of the proscribed organisations and there are very structural, methodical actions taking place with the decisions at the highest level," Asad was quoted as saying. (ANI)