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Monday Aug 27 2018

Pakistan’s immediate challenge is foreign exchange deficit: Asad Umar

The finance minister also dismissed reports of currency notes being changed-File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar on Monday said the most pressing challenge facing Pakistan was the country’s depleting foreign exchange reserves.

“We are facing a $2 billion deficit monthly for the last four months in the foreign exchange account. This is the immediate challenge,” Umar told reporters.

Pakistan had loans worth $94 billion, the finance minister said, so no decision had been taken by the government on approaching the International Monetary Fund.

The finance minister emphasised that the government’s fight was with issues such as unemployment and inflation and not with the opposition.

When asked about austerity measures, Umar said that the prime minister wanted to send a message that this is the nation’s money and should be used by them.

On US sanctions on Iran, the finance minister stressed there would be an impact on Pakistan. “We have to see about [what to do with] the pipeline project. The petroleum minister is working on this.”

According to the minister, deadlines on various economic plans were being set according to the 100-day plan. “We won the election on this and our performance is going to be evaluated on the basis of this.”

When asked about a loan from China, Umar replied: “Whatever needs to be done will be done by the people of Pakistan. We work with the entire world and have relations. There is dialogue in accordance to these relations. What I hear on WhatsApp groups and see on social media is not reality.”

The finance minister also dismissed reports of currency notes being changed.