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Pakistan, IMF bailout talks finalised

ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has finalised a bailout package for Pakistan as talks between the two sides were finalised during a recent visit by the Pakistani delegation to the United States, Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Monday.

Briefing the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs chaired by Faizullah Kamoka, the finance minister said the talks with the IMF and World Bank were positive and Pakistan would receive funds from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank immediately following the IMF bailout.

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.

Sources earlier said the IMF agreed to a three-year bailout package for Pakistan, after a high-level delegation led by Finance Minister Asad Umar met with IMF and World Bank officials on the sidelines of the annual Spring Meeting in Washington, DC.

The world lender did not object to an asset declaration scheme proposed by Pakistan, the sources added, pointing out that Pakistan had already shared a draft of the proposed scheme with the IMF and the Financial Action Task Force.

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.

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