Pakistan-IMF on Verge of Striking Deal For Financial Assistance; May Hit Defence Budget

Pakistan Finance Minister stated that Islamabad is very close to striking a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)  to obtain financial support from the global organization. This development comes after Pakistan PM Imran Khan met IMF chief Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai.

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Addressing the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industries in Peshawar, Pakistan Finance Minister Asad Umar said a deal with the IMF looks likely and that there was a confluence of views between the two parties on the need to implement structural reforms in the country, reiterating the prime minister’s remarks in the aftermath of the meeting.

“There has been a decrease in the difference we had with the IMF. The IMF has changed its position… It seems we have come closer to an agreement with the IMF. Insha’Allah this will be the last agreement. This will happen when businesses grow,” he said.

Umar emphasised that Pakistan’s economy would be lifted by its people, not by anyone coming from the outside. “If we take the right decisions the economy would rise. It is the responsibility of the business and trading community to put Pakistan on the path towards progress.”

PM Imran Khan told the IMF that we want to sign on the package, Umar added. Discussing the importance of strengthening trade ties with the neighbouring countries, Umar said Pakistan is focusing on boosting trade with Iran and Afghanistan. He said trade ties with India could improve if the Kashmir issue was resolved.

He also said Pakistan is working on a Strategic Economic Draft to strengthen economic ties with Turkey. “Peace in Afghanistan [will lead to] peace in Pakistan. We are playing our role for peace in Afghanistan,” Umar said.

He further said the government had not stopped PayPal from entering into the Pakistani market. “PayPal is not stopped on my desk, the State Bank or in any other government institution. We are chasing PayPal,” the finance minister said, stressing that he was aware of PayPal being an excellent source of income for Pakistani youngsters who work from home.

“They face immense difficulties without PayPal or any effective online payment system. I have taken the initiative myself and sent a message to PayPal CEO that this was important and I was willing to fly to America to hold a meeting,” Umar said.

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