Pakistan says IMF bailout package ‘more or less’ final

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Finance Minister Asad Umar had meeting with team of World Bank’s Multilateral investment guarantee agency (MIGA) at Washington DC on 12 April, 2019 (PID)
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In this file photo, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar gestures during a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, November 30, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 14 April 2019

Pakistan says IMF bailout package ‘more or less’ final

  • Finance minister says hoping for a “full agreement” in the next few days
  • Pakistan launched talks with the IMF for its 13th financial assistance package in October

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s minister for finance has said Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund had “more or less” finalized a bailout package, local media reported on Saturday, six months after Islamabad requested financial assistance from the Fund to address its economic challenges.
Wrestling with a ballooning current account deficit, Pakistan sought its 13th IMF bailout package in October. Currently, foreign reserves of $8.5 billion are better than the start of the year, but barely cover two months’ worth of imports.
“During the last two days, we have, more or less, reached an understanding,” Dawn newspaper quoted Asad Umar as saying at a news briefing in Washington on Thursday evening. “In the next day or two, we hope to reach a full agreement.”
He said as a next step, IMF officials would now visit Pakistan in the next few weeks to work out technical details. “But in principle, we have reached an agreement,” Umar added.
The finance minister, who reached Washington on Tuesday evening, left for New York on Friday after two days of talks with the IMF and World Bank officials on the sidelines of the group’s spring meetings. The team of experts that came with him remains behind in Washington to finalize the details of a multi-billion dollar, three-year bailout package.
Talks with the IMF began soon after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government was appointed last August but a package has been held up by differences over the pace and scale of reforms that Pakistan would be required to undertake.
The IMF has pressed Pakistan to improve tax revenue collection, bolster foreign currency reserves and narrow a current account deficit expected to top 5 percent of gross domestic product this year.
Pakistani officials say they agree on the need for reforms but do not want to sign up to conditions that would derail the economy, with growth set to slow this year to around 4 percent from 5.2 percent last year.
Last month Asad Umar said Pakistan and the IMF had reduced their differences. He has also repeatedly said the IMF was not demanding that Pakistan set a market-oriented exchange rate.


Gunmen on motorcycles attack police in NW Pakistan, 2 killed

Updated 25 August 2019

Gunmen on motorcycles attack police in NW Pakistan, 2 killed

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan: Pakistani police say gunmen on motorcycles attacked a security post overnight in the northwestern Daraban Kalan area, killing two employees at a nearby gas station.
Police officer Tariq Khan said Saturday that the eight militants also wounded two people in a bus getting gas when the shooting started at around midnight Friday.
A faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place close to the former Taliban stronghold in South Waziristan bordering Afghanistan.
Pakistan claims to have driven out the Taliban, al-Qaida and other militant groups in a series of military operations in recent years, but the region still sees occasional attacks.