Realization about economic slide

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The developments of the last few days is a clear testimony that there is growing realization among the powers that be about economic downslide and the need to take urgent measures to prevent further deterioration of the situation.

As Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa reached out to the US administration with a request for help in securing an early dispersal of a tranche of bailout package from the International Monetary Fund , Finance Minister Miftah Ismail had a meeting with Ambassador of the United States (US) to Pakistan Donald Blome to discuss issues relating to strengthening of the bilateral economic cooperation.

It is encouraging that besides the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister, the Army Chief too is trying his level best to use his good offices with senior officials in Washington and other capitals to seek their cooperation in overcoming the prevailing economic crisis.

During his telephonic conversation with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, the COAS made an appeal for the White House and Treasury Department to push the IMF to immediately supply nearly $1.2 billion that Pakistan is due to receive under a resumed loan programme.

General Bajwa also played a similar role during the tenure of PTI when he was instrumental in securing financial commitments from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The uneasiness of the authorities concerned is understandable as delay in release of the tranche is a factor in creation of panic among business circles and on Friday the rupee dipped to historic low of 250 a dollar, which is surely a cause for concern for all stakeholders and people of Pakistan who are bearing the brunt of massive devaluation and a record increase in prices of petroleum products.

Pakistan reached a staff level agreement with the IMF after protracted negotiations and has since then completed all the prior actions but despite all this the IMF is taking its time and according to a statement of the Finance Minister the IMF Board would meet at the end of August to approve the accord and release of the money.

Pakistan is in a critical position as foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank have decreased to below 09 billion dollars and further delay in resumption of the stalled IMF programme would complicate the situation further.

Therefore, the Army Chief has rightly and timely approached the US that has greater leverage in IMF for cooperation and hopefully his appeal would be responded to in a prompt and positive manner.

 

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