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IMF team to visit Pakistan on Nov 7:  Asad Umar

Lahore : Minister for Finance Asad Umar on Saturday said a delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
would visit Pakistan on November 7 to finalize terms and conditions for a bailout programme.

Talking to media persons here, the minister said the
government’s decision to approach the IMF for the bailout package was the inevitable due to wrong economic policies of the past government causing enhanced current account deficit.

Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar was also
present on the occasion. “At present, the total shortfall of the country’s foreign exchange reserves is around $12 billion, which cannot be bridged through the IMF loan. The government will also utilize other sources for the purpose,” Asad Umar said.

He said during his meetings with the IMF officials in
Bali, Indonesia, the two sides expressed the desire that it might be
the last bailout package for Pakistan.

“We have sought the package only to get relief for the
time being and run the country’s economic system smoothly,” he said.
“Meanwhile, we will improve our capacity by gradually reducing trade deficit, increasing foreign remittances, improving tax revenues, and introducing other revenue generation measures in a bid to avoid the IMF packages in future”.

The finance minister said it was not the fault of the
last PML-N government to avail the IMF’s bailout package and
similarly, now the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was forced the approach the international lender.

Replying to a question regrading the United States’
statement that Pakistan was seeking a bailout package from IMF only to repay the debts taken on account of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, the minister said, “I categorically reject the US statement as it is a 100 percent wrong statement and there is no truth in it.”

He said Pakistan had to repay debt of $9 billion to the
IMF this year while $ 300 million would have to be paid to China
annually on account of CPEC for next few years.

“Debts for CPEC projects given by the Chinese side are
based on very easy terms and conditions and Pakistan does not need any external aid to pay the same,” he added.

The minister said the Pakistan government would share
the details of Pakistan’s foreign debts with the IMF as it was a
normal routine while negotiating a package with the lender.

He said during the previous government’s tenure, the
IMF package was completed in September 2016 and by that time the country’s foreign exchange reserves’ remained stable. However, the reserves kept on falling every month since October 2016, he added.

To another question, the minister said it was possible
for Pakistan to sustain without an IMF programme. However, “if we do not opt for the IMF package, the country’s economic condition will further deteriorate which will  ultimately affect the common men.”

With regard to the rupee devaluation, the minister said
the devaluation did not occur due to Pakistan’s decision to go for the IMF, but it happened because of the principle of demand and supply.
Continuous depletion of exchange reserves resulted in devaluation of the rupee, he added.

He also attributed the devaluation of rupee to the
overall economic condition of regional and international countries.
Due to fresh sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran, the
global petroleum prices were increasing which resulted in increased import bill for Pakistan.


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