IMF mission arrives in Islamabad

  • IMF, Pakistan plan to discuss economic challenges

  • Delegation to stay in the country for one week

ISLAMABAD: A delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrived in Pakistan on Thursday to hold talks pertaining to the country’s economic crises with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

Headed by Harold Finger, the mission is expected to stay in Pakistan for a week.

It is expected to hold crucial meetings with the Finance Minister Asad Umar, and Minister for Planning Development and Reform, Khusro Bakhtiar and officials of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

According to reports, the Pakistan team will include finance secretary, governor of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and secretary for economic affairs.

“During the talks, Pakistan’s economic challenges will be discussed.”

Earlier, in an interview with Arab News, Asad Umar negated the narrative that Pakistan was desperate for an IMF bailout programme and said, “Pakistan is not in an emergency situation that requires it to rush to the IMF to seek a bailout.”

“We are in discussion with them, but this is not to negotiate for a loan. Our purpose is to do our homework, in case we want to approach them at some stage,” he added, when asked about the purpose of his scheduled meeting with the IMF on September 27.

He further said that during his visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Prime Minister Imran Khan discussed measures for trade enhancement and investment to help ‘fill the external financing gap’, further adding that Pakistan was constantly in touch with international commercial markets and banks for financing.

After the PTI government took over late in July, talks of Pakistan knocking on the IMF’s door started to surface. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then said that it will not support Pakistan’s IMF bailout programme since the funds might be used to repay Chinese loans. Later on, in talks with the foreign ministry of Pakistan during Pompeo’s visit to Islamabad earlier in September, it was revealed that the US will not interfere in Pakistan going to the IMF.