Pakistan seeks billions of dollars in new loans after floods: report

PM did not specify but estimated an amount of $30bn to cover flood losses

LAHORE: Pakistan will ask international lenders for billions of dollars in loans after devastating floods exacerbated the country’s economic crisis, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

“We are not asking for any kind of measure [such as] a rescheduling or a moratorium,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif told the Financial Times. “We are asking for additional funds.”

The country needs “huge sums of money” for “mega undertakings” such as rebuilding roads, bridges and other infrastructure damaged or washed away, the FT quoted Shehbaz as saying.

The prime minister did not specify the amount Pakistan is seeking, but repeated an estimate of $30 billion of flood losses, the report said.

Earlier this month, the United Nations raised its humanitarian aid appeal for Pakistan five-fold to $816 million from $160m, as a surge in water-borne diseases and fear of growing hunger pose new dangers after the unprecedented floods.

The European Union also scaled up its flood assistance to 30m euros.

A decline in the Pakistani rupee is also pushing up the cost of imports, borrowing and debt servicing, and will further exacerbate inflation already running at multi-decade highs.

The estimated $30bn in damage to the economy from the floods along with rising concerns about Islamabad’s ability to raise money to meet external financing requirements has worsened the situation.

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