Pakistan has requested for financial assistance: IMF

NUSA DUA, INDONESIAPakistan has requested financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund to address its economic challenges, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Thursday.Lagarde said in a statement that the request came during her meeting with Finance Minister Asad Umar, and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Bali.“An IMF team will visit Islamabad in the coming weeks to initiate discussions for a possible IMF-supported economic program,” Lagarde said. “We look forward to our continuing partnership.”Umar, who is attending the fund’s annual meeting in Bali, announced earlier this week that the government would seek talks with the IMF on a “stabilisation recovery programme”.

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“I’m assuming that there might be a programme request on their part, but that has not been discussed and we will explore that this afternoon,” she told a press briefing earlier today.Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday vowed to steer the country out of a looming balance-of-payments crisis, saying it needs $10-12 billion.

“We will get out of this. I will take (the country) out of this,” he said.

PM Imran took office in August vowing to weigh up whether to seek an IMF bailout as it sought other avenues of financing.

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The government has sought loans from friendly countries, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials, and embarked on a series of populist austerity measures.But help has been in short supply and economists’ warnings have grown increasingly urgent.Pakistan has gone to the IMF several times since the late 1980s. The most recent was in 2013 when Islamabad got a $6.6 billion loan to tackle a similar crisis.

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