Monday Apr 15, 2019
ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar revealed on Monday that Pakistan would sign a bailout agreement with International Monetary Fund (IMF) that would be worth $6-8 billion.
Briefing the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs chaired by Faizullah Kamoka, the finance minister said the IMF finalised a bailout package for Pakistan during talks between the two sides at a recent visit by the Pakistani delegation to the United States.
Pakistan would receive funds from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank immediately following the IMF bailout, he said.
Umar said the IMF package would ease off pressure from the country's foreign reserves.
External account pressure reduced Pakistan's international reserves to $6.6 billion by mid-January 2019, but with short-term financing from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and China, foreign reserves increased to $10.5 billion at the end of March.
The finance minister further assured that the capital market would also improve following the IMF programme.
Umar told the committee that an IMF mission will visit Islamabad during the last week of April, which is when the bailout package amount will be finalised.
Speaking to media later, he said the public will not be impacted by the IMF agreement, and the government has no plans to raise electricity prices, the minister said.
Umar said he met with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) President Marshall Billingslea during the US visit, who assured him that any decision would be taken on technical grounds.
Pakistan will send a draft detailing its implementation on FATF's recommendations by today, he said. A delegation of FATF will visit Pakistan in the third week of May to review the implementation efforts.
IMF did not object to an asset declaration scheme proposed by Pakistan, sources said earlier, pointing out that Pakistan had already shared a draft of the proposed scheme with the IMF and the FATF.
Asad Umar is also set to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and take him into confidence regarding the IMF talks.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, speaking to media earlier today, said the finance minister will inform the nation regarding the IMF agreement in the coming days.
Chaudhry said the country can expect some major news about the economy within the next two days.
“Pakistan’s economy is moving towards strength,” he said, adding that there had been “positive progress” with the Paris-based anti-terror laundering watchdog FATF as well.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Revenue Hamad Azhar said an agreement in principle had been reached on all outstanding issues with IMF during the finance minister's recent successful visit to the US.
He said technical details and formalities would now be finalised during the IMF's staff-level visit to Pakistan later this month.
Furthermore, the office of the IMF resident representative said in a statement that Pakistani authorities and global lender's staff held constructive discussions during the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington DC towards an IMF-supported programme.
"At the request of the [Pakistani] authorities, an IMF mission will be going to Pakistan before the end of April to continue the discussions," it said.