IMF stands ready to support Pakistan: Lagarde

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Observer Report

Dubai

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday met International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of the World Government Summit taking place in Dubai.
Although no details regarding the meeting were immediately issued by the government, a press release issued by the IMF said Lagarde’s meeting with the premier had been “good and constructive”. The meeting was held to discuss conditionalities that have held up Pakistan’s accession to the Fund’s bailout programme.
“We discussed recent economic developments and prospects for Pakistan in the context of ongoing discussions toward an IMF-supported programme,” Lagarde was quoted as saying by the statement.
“I reiterated that the IMF stands ready to support Pakistan.”
The IMF chief said she highlighted during the conversation that Pakistan could “restore the resilience of its economy” through “decisive policies and a strong package of economic reforms”
Citing the PTI government’s policy agenda, Lagarde said protecting the poor and strengthening governance were “key priorities to improve people’s living standards in a sustainable manner”. Earlier, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had said the Khan-Lagarde meeting would “give us a chance to understand the IMF views and we will be able to give our version to [the] IMF chief”. Chaudhry claimed that Pakistan wants “a fair deal that can actually help Pakistan in the short-term without affecting our long-term economic goals”.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi stressed that Islamabad wanted to proceed with the bailout package under conditions that would not add an unjustified burden on the common man.The IMF is asking for an adjustment of around Rs1,600-2,000 billion over three to four years. It also wants some corrective measures to put Pakistan’s economy on the right track after witnessing the highest-ever current account deficit. But the stumbling issue in the talks is the pace of adjustments in the current expenditure. The emphasis on current expenditures comes as a result of a focus on what is known as a ‘primary balance’ in the parlance of public finance.

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