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Friday Apr 26 2019

PM, Lagarde to work towards agreement on IMF programme for Pakistan

The IMF director, in a social media post, said that she was glad to meet the Pakistani premier/ photo: Twitter

BEIJING: Prime Minister Imran Khan and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Director Christine Lagarde on Friday agreed on the importance of the IMF programme and to work towards an agreement for which an IMF delegation would coming to Islamabad this month.

Khan met Lagarde on the sidelines of second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) during his visit to China.

The prime minister was assisted by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Advisor on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razzaq Dawood.

The meeting reviewed the relationship between Pakistan and the global lender, a spokesman for the PM's office said in a statement.

During the meeting, Khan identified the areas of reform and initiatives being undertaken by his government to stabilise the economy, control inflation and achieve fiscal balance.

The two sides also agreed on the need for a social safety net for vulnerable groups of the society.

After the meeting, the IMF director, in a social media post, said that she was glad to meet the Pakistani premier in a meeting where a comprehensive policy package was discussed to alleviate Pakistan's economy.

“We discussed prospects for a comprehensive policy package and international financial support to help stabilize the economy of Pakistan, and also the need to strengthen governance and protect the poor,” she said.

Earlier, the prime minister met World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva on the sidelines of the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China.

During his key note address at the forum, Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan and China were entering the next phase of the multibillion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which would focus on lifting people out of poverty.

The IMF team is to arrive in Islamabad later this month for a round of talks.

In backdrop of recent developments, the government named Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, a former World Bank official who was federal finance minister from 2010-2013, as "adviser on finance" replacing Asad Umar.

The newly-appointed head of Pakistan's finance ministry has vowed to speed up talks with the IMF as Islamabad seeks a crucial bailout deal for a cash-strapped economy facing a balance-of-payments crisis.

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