IMF is asking for ‘guarantees at every step’: PM Shehbaz
- Says talks between government and IMF are still underway
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Tuesday that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is asking the government to provide guarantees at every step before resuming the bailout programme.
Speaking during a session of the National Assembly, he stated that the past government violated the agreements made with the lender, and it is now seeking guarantees.
“We worked round the clock to save Pakistan from default,” he stressed. “We are still in talks with the IMF for next tranche of the loan.”
On March 24, the IMF had said that it needed to ensure that financing assurances were in place in order to take “the next step with Pakistan”.
In a press briefing, Julie Kozack, the IMF’s Director of Strategic Communications, stated “timely financial assistance from external partners will be critical to support the authorities’ policy efforts and ensure the successful completion of the review [with Pakistan].
“Ensuring that there is sufficient financing to support the authorities is the paramount priority. A Staff Level Agreement (SLA) will follow once the few remaining points are closed,” she said.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said “friendly” countries were expected to materialise their commitments with Pakistan that would pave the way to close the deal with the IMF and revive the economy.
‘Imran violated constitution’
Meanwhile on Tuesday, PM Shehbaz addressed other issues as well. He criticised former prime minister Imran Khan for increasing Pakistan’s debt, violating the constitution and damaging foreign policy.
“We spent past 11 months in strengthening the bonds with friendly countries,” he said.
None of Imran promises were fulfilled and as a result, even white collar workers are standing in lines for free and subsidised wheat flour, he added.
He also blamed the former PM for providing refugee to terrorists “which caused a spike in terror incidents in Pakistan”.
Imran should apologise before the nation, he said.
Speaking about delay in Punjab elections, he said that cabinet took the decision due to security threats.
Punjab elections postponement: ECP’s decision in national interest, declares minister
Referring to census, he stated that Sindh administration, particularly MQM had some reservations on it.
Earlier during the month, PM Shehbaz said that general elections in 2023 will take place on time and the government was aiming to complete the census and compile results before then.
“Polls will take place in August or September 2023 and holding elections on time will strengthen democracy,” he had stressed.