New USD 3 billion loan to help Pakistan's efforts in stabilising its ailing economy: IMF
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Islamabad: A senior minister on Wednesday slammed the IMF for “intervening” in Pakistan’s internal affairs, asserting that a delay in finalising the bailout package is neither good for the country nor the Washington-based global lender.

In an unusual move, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday urged Pakistan to resolve its political disputes in line with the “Constitution and rule of law.”

The remarks by IMF Mission Chief to Pakistan Nathan Porter came after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif contacted Kristalina Georgieva, the chief of the global lender to revive the much-awaited USD 6.5 billion bailout package in a last-ditch effort to avoid a possible default.

“We take note of the recent political developments, and while we do not comment on domestic politics, we do hope that a peaceful way forward is found in line with the Constitution and rule of law,” IMF Mission Chief to Pakistan Nathan Porter said, days after Sharif discussed Pakistan’s bailout package with IMF Managing Director Georgieva.

Pakistan’s State Minister for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha slammed the IMF for “intervening” in Pakistan’s internal matters, according to Geo TV.

Cash-strapped Pakistan and the IMF have failed to reach a staff-level agreement on the much-needed USD 1.1 billion bailout package aimed at preventing the country from going bankrupt.

The funds are part of a USD 6.5 billion bailout package the IMF approved in 2019, which analysts say is critical if Pakistan is to avoid defaulting on external debt obligations.

In February this year, IMF officials and the Pakistan government held discussions, which remained inconclusive.

Pasha said a delay in finalising the deal is neither good for Pakistan nor for the IMF.

“The Ministry of Finance is not sitting with its eyes closed, there is always a Plan B but our priority is to revive the IMF programme,” the minister said.

Commenting on the upcoming budget, Pasha assured that the finance bill will aim at providing relief to the people as this will be an “election year budget,” the report said.

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Pakistan, currently in the throes of a major economic crisis, is grappling with high external debt, a weak local currency and dwindling foreign exchange reserves enough to shore up for barely one month’s imports.

Pakistan’s inflation level rose by a whopping 36.4 per cent in the year in April, driven mainly by food prices, the highest in South Asia, and up from 35.4 per cent in March, according to the country’s statistics bureau.

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