- It's one of the most important countries in the region and in the world. Pakistanis deserve much more,' says Bahador Bijani, IMF Executive Director
Bahador Bijani, an Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has noted an overall improvement in the economic situation in the country, stating that “Pakistani authorities have delivered”.
The remarks were made by the IMF official during an event hosted by Masood Khan, Ambassador of Pakistan to US, for representatives of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) including the IMF, International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank, and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), at Pakistan House, read a statement published by the Press Information Department (PID) on Thursday.
“I think the future for Pakistan is very bright,” said Bijani. “Pakistan is not just any country. It’s one of the most important countries in the region and in the world. Pakistanis deserve much more,” he observed.
The remarks come as the South Asian country, which is operating under a caretaker government, remains in an IMF program.
Meanwhile, addressing a gathering of over 40 guests from the IFIs, Nathan Porter, IMF Mission Chief to Pakistan, expressed satisfaction over the recently concluded staff-level agreement.
As per the statement, Porter said that the actions and policies of the current interim government reflected its commitment to steer the country towards stabilization.
“With that base, hopefully, we can build on and be able to move forward to reforms to build a stronger, prosperous and inclusive Pakistan,” Porter said.
The IMF representative also appreciated the cooperation and the policies pursued by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for ensuring fiscal stability in the country, read the statement.
Speaking on the occasion, Athanasios Arvanitis, Deputy Director Middle East and Central Asia Department IMF, expressed the hope that the elections in Pakistan, which are scheduled to be held in February next year, will usher in reforms that the country needs to make progress.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Syed Ali Abbas, Advisor Mission Chief UK, European Department IMF, hoped that with the successful completion of electoral process in Pakistan, the country would move towards a long-term and more durable approach.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Masood Khan observed that the digitisation of Pakistan’s economy was creating new opportunities in the country for its youth and professionals taking the lead role in steering the country towards a bright future.
“We are a nation of talented people. If you can make it, Pakistan will also make it,” observed the envoy.
Earlier this month, Managing Director (MD) IMF, Kristalina Georgieva lauded the Pakistani government for “maintaining economic stability and timely implementation of reforms”.
In July, Pakistan inked a last-minute Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the Washington-based lender amid default fears. Under the $3 billion SBA program, Pakistan received $1.2 billion from the IMF as the first tranche in July.
The nine-month agreement then paved the way for inflows from multilateral and bilateral partners including Saudi Arabia, UAE, and World Bank, providing a cushion to the depleting foreign exchange reserves position.
The IMF programme also gave some breathing room to Pakistan’s economy that has been struggling with a boom-and-bust cycle for decades in the absence of meaningful structural reforms.
Last month, IMF staff and Pakistani authorities reached a staff-level agreement on the first review of the SBA program. The government expects approval from the IMF’s executive board in December.