LAHORE: The International Monetary Fund (IMF), Director Communications Gerry Rice on Thursday said the objective of the program would be to stabilize the Pakistan economy.
While speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Mr Rice said that Pakistan on October 11th had formally requested for financial assistance from the IMF during the annual meetings held in Indonesia.
He added, the discussions with the authorities regarding the bailout are expected to commence on November 7th, for which an IMF mission will arrive in Islamabad.
IMF director communications said they would put in place the preconditions for sustained inclusive growth and modalities of that would get announced once a staff-level agreement was reached.
Once that is done, Mr Rice said, “Then we’ll go forward to our board for the formal approval of the program.
“There will be, again as usual — people who follow us know this — there will be a press release, there will be a communication at the end of that. Assuming staff-level agreement is reached, there would be a communication at that point, said Mr Rice.
“So, November the 7th is when the discussions are going to begin, and the board date would be — the board discussion would be contingent on an agreement being reached and following again.”
On Tuesday, Finance Minister Asad Umar while speaking in the National Assembly had defended the move of to approach friendly countries as well as the IMF for assistance so it wouldn’t be dependent on any single source.
While talking at the floor of the National Assembly, the finance minister said, “When we went to Saudi Arabia we signed a $3 billion deal. Naveed Qamar has stayed in the IMF programme, Ishaq Dar is not here but he must also know that all the money does not come from the IMF.”
Moreover, Mr Umar rebuffed the impression that the government’s indecision on the IMF programme had spawned the stock market crash and told the house that the KSE-100 benchmark index had nosedived by 15,000 points even when the previous PML-N administration was in power.
He stated during the two months of PTI’s government, the stock market went down by 4,000 points whereas during the previous seven months of the PML-N administration it nosedived by 15,000 points.
The finance minister told the house that the trade deficit had risen from 4.2% to 6.6% and this rise had incurred a loss of Rs1,000 billion.
He acknowledged Pakistan’s highest trade deficit is with China and reiterated that Beijing is fully determined to “work with us on this.”
Asad Umer said Saudi Arabia has agreed to deposit $3 billion with State Bank of Pakistan for a period of one year, whilst it will provide $9 billion of oil on deferred payment for a period of three years.
Last week, Pakistan had gained a $6 billion bailout from Saudi Arabia and the Finance Ministry spokesman Noor Ahmed had told Bloomberg, “Islamabad will now negotiate with the IMF from an improved position.”
He added, “We’ll have to go to IMF. The Saudi Arabian package “is something you strengthened your position for talks.”
Mr Ahmed said an IMF programme will help boost discipline in the economy.