- Premier says securing funding from friendly countries was last condition of IMF
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Saturday that Pakistan fulfilled the last condition of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by securing funding from friendly countries and “now, the global has no excuse” to delay the next tranche of its bailout programme.
Addressing a ceremony in Lahore, he was positive that the government of Pakistan and IMF will sign the staff level agreement soon.
“The last IMF condition was to secure funding from friendly countries and to fulfill it, China came to our aid and rolled over a $2-billion loan,” he said. “Moreover, Saudi Arabia and UAE gave $3 billion funding to Pakistan.”
He lauded the efforts made by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir for fulfilling this daunting task.
His remarks come just as the IMF said on Saturday that the Fund was looking forward to obtaining the necessary financing assurances as soon as possible to pave the way for successful completion of the 9th Extended Fund Facility (EFF) review, a statement that came after Pakistan secured $3 billion in fresh inflow from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“We welcome the recent announcement of important financial support to Pakistan from key bilateral partners,” Nathan Porter, IMF Mission Chief to Pakistan, was quoted as saying in a statement to Business Recorder.
“During the meetings between the Pakistani delegation and IMF staff and management, there was agreement on the need to maintain strong policies and secure sufficient financing to support the authorities’ implementation efforts.
“The IMF is supporting these efforts and looks forward to obtaining the necessary financing assurances as soon as possible to pave the way for the successful completion of the 9th EFF review.”
In his speech on Saturday, PM Shehbaz was of the view that the public of Pakistan should work to end reliance on the IMF.
“If Pakistan manages to end reliance on IMF altogether, it will be a day of celebration for the nation,” he said. “Pakistan was not formed to beg for funding from the world. Our elders did not give sacrifices for this. They did not pay for the country with their blood for this. This is not the Pakistan they wanted.”
He lamented that the government adopted a stalled IMF programme and had to agree to “tough” conditions to revive it.
Admitting that inflation was at a significantly high level in Pakistan, he said that he introduced free wheat scheme in Punjab during Ramazan that benefited 80-100 million people.
“This was the first such initiative in 75 years. The scheme was launched to combat rising inflation and Rs65 billion have been spent on it.”
Moving to development in Punjab, he stated that the pace of work slowed down over the past 4-5 years,
“A lot of development schemes were shelved and stalled projects are being completed now,” he said.