Pakistan vows to fulfil IMF promises after averting default threat

PM Shehbaz hopes IMF executive board will approve $3 billion short-term bailout on July 12

Business Desk
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addressing a ceremony in Islamabad, on July 5, 2023. — Radio Pakistan
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addressing a ceremony in Islamabad, on July 5, 2023. — Radio Pakistan

  • PM Shehbaz hopes IMF board will approve $3 billion bailout.
  • "The agreement will go through, God willing," premier says.
  • IMF executive baord will meet on July 12 to approve loan.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Wednesday that Pakistan would fulfill its commitments made to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure a short-term financing deal, helping the cash-strapped nation avert a default in the near future.

A staff-level agreement on the $3 billion stand-by agreement (SBA) was reached between the local authorities and the IMF team, with the lender's executive board to give final approval on July 12.

The economy has been stricken by a balance-of-payments crisis as it attempts to service crippling external debt, while months of political chaos have scared off foreign investment.

Inflation has rocketed, the rupee has reached a record low against the dollar, and the country is struggling to afford imports, causing a severe decline in industrial output.

"The agreement will go through, God willing," PM Shehbaz said during a ceremony to mark a decade since the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) signing in Islamabad.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said Pakistan stands to receive a first installment of $1.1 billion, which will come only after the board's approval.

Pakistan has averted the threat of default, the premier said, noting that the IMF deal has given the country an opportunity to move towards development.

"We need to work hard and save the poor people from inflation. The elite (or those with money) need to play a role in this regard," he said.

The prime minister thanked President Xi and the Chinese government for supporting Pakistan, especially when it awaited the staff-level agreement with the IMF.

He also acknowledged the assurances from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Islamic Development Fund, which helped Pakistan overcome its financial crisis.

In his address to the ceremony, the premier termed CPEC a “very transparent” project and said the Chinese government and companies made investments of $25.4 billion investment in various projects.

He said thousands of Chinese workers and their Pakistani counterparts worked day and night to create a history of commitment and vitality of goodwill between the two sides.