Reluctant negotiator: Pakistan pursuing IMF bailout, a team would visit Islamabad

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Jakarta

IMF chief Christine Lagarde met with Pakistani officials Thursday and said a team would visit Islamabad for talks on a possible bailout of its shaky economy.

Finance Minister Asad Umar, who is attending the Fund’s annual meeting in Bali, announced earlier this week that the government would seek talks with the IMF on a “stabilisation recovery programme”.

Lagarde earlier Thursday said the IMF had yet to receive anything formal from Islamabad but that she would meet with the Pakistani delegation in Bali.

“During the meeting, they requested financial assistance from the IMF to help address Pakistan’s economic challenges,” Lagarde said in a statement.

“An IMF team will visit Islamabad in the coming weeks to initiate discussions for a possible IMF-supported economic programme.”

Finance Minister Asad Umar on Wednesday held meeting with the President of World Bank (WB), Dr. Jim Yong Kim and shared with him the vision and priorities of the new Government, here in Bali, Indonesia. Current level of Pak-WB cooperation was reviewed during the meeting that was held on the sidelines of WB/IMF Group’s Annual meetings.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday vowed to steer the country out of a looming balance-of-payments crisis, saying it needs $10-12 billion.

“We will get out of this. I will take (the country) out of this,” he said.

Imran’s new administration took office in August vowing to weigh up whether to seek an IMF bailout as it sought other avenues of financing.

He has sought loans from friendly countries, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials, and embarked on a series of populist austerity measures.

But help has been in short supply and economists’ warnings have grown increasingly urgent.

Pakistan has gone to the IMF several times since the late 1980s. The most recent was in 2013, when Islamabad got a $6.6 billion loan to tackle a similar crisis.

Finance Minister also held meeting with the President of World Bank (WB), Dr. Jim Yong Kim and shared with him the vision and priorities of the new Government, here in Bali, Indonesia.Current level of Pak-WB cooperation was reviewed during the meeting that was held on the sidelines of WB/IMF Group’s Annual meetings. Asad also had meetings with senior officials of Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and OECD. More than 15,000 representatives from 189 countries around the world are attending the annual meeting of WB/IMF group which is underway in Bali Indonesia and will continue till October 14.A delegation comprising Governor State Bank, Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Special Secretary Finance Division headed by Finance Minister is representing Pakistan in the meeting.

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister held a meeting with Indonesian Counterpart Sri Mulayani Indrawati on the sidelines of annual meetings of World Bank/IMF group here in Bali, Indonesia.

The finance minister while talking to his Indonesian counterpart called upon Indonesia to expedite the process of ratification of the additional tariff lines for Pakistan after comprehensive review of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) in 2017.

During the meeting, they discussed matters pertaining to expansion of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Asad also emphasised expanding Pak-Indonesia trade relations.

Congratulating the finance minister on assuming the office after recent elections in Pakistan, Indrawati reaffirmed Indonesia’s desire to expand bilateral relations and assured her support to address the points raised by the Pakistan side.

 

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