Pakistan to meet ‘external debt servicing obligations’

Ijaz Kakakhel

Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha stressed Thursday that Pakistan would not default on its international obligations and the government would ensure timely external debt payments.

In conversation with journalists in Islamabad, the state minister added that there is “no chance” of Pakistan’s default as authorities were in talks with Saudi Arabia for a $3 billion loan.

“We will also ensure that our foreign debt requirements are met,” the minister said, as Pakistan faces an uphill task of repaying the loans amid depleting forex reserves.

Amid a crisis-like situation, Pakistan will have to repay approximately $8.3 billion in the shape of external debt servicing over the next three months (Jan-March) of the current fiscal year.

The government is eyeing to pass the ninth review of the International Monetary Fund to secure a $1.7 billion bailout package, but both sides have made no substantial headway in recent days.

In this regard, the minister said the money lender’s annual holidays were underway, but the Pakistani authorities were in contact with them over the Extended Fund Facility.

Pasha also said Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar would meet the Fund’s officials at the international donor’s conference in Geneva on January 9.

The country aims to gather funds from global donors as cataclysmic floods had battered the nation and caused damages worth $30 billion despite Pakistan being one of the lowest carbon emitters.