Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and finance minister-in-waiting Asad Umar on Sunday overtly dismissed rumors that he had stated there was no other option left for Pakistan apart from consulting International Monetary Fund (IMF). He took to popular micro-blogging website Twitter and stated, ‘I believe there was a segment on Geo yesterday in which it was claimed that I had said there was no option except going to IMF! Absolutely false news. I had said no option including IMF is ruled out. I have said the same thing many times before and after elections’.
Air was thick with rumors that Asad had hinted at approaching IMF for a possible bailout package worth USD 10 billion. Worthy to added that at present, Pakistan owes $4.2 billion to the IMF, which means the country has already exhausted about 150% of its quota. This could further reduce the size of the IMF loan to Pakistan, said sources in the finance ministry. ‘The new government should seek a front-loaded programme to gain breathing space early in its term,’ said former secretary finance Dr Waqar Masood.
If the country manages to get an IMF programme, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank can also restore suspended budgetary support to Pakistan. These two lenders require IMF’s letter of comfort before restoring budgetary support.