A delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will arrive in Pakistan on November 7 for talks on a bailout package, it emerged on Thursday.
According to the Fund’s spokesperson Gerry Rice, the IMF executive board will be sent for talks on a staff-level agreement.
Rice did not expand on the timetable for the agreement.
It is expected that the bailout talks will begin after PM Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Finance Minister Asad Umar return from the five-day official visit to China.
In October, Pakistan approached IMF in Indonesia for loans. The finance minister had announced the government’s decision to go for IMF “immediately” to deal with the financial crisis.
Umar added it is to kickstart growth in capital market and improving stock exchange, while claiming it would be the last time Pakistan approaches the IMF.
Saudi Arabia had agreed to give Pakistan $3bn for a period of one year as the South Asian country faces an economic crisis marked by a mounting balance of payments deficit and dwindling foreign currency reserves. The Gulf kingdom had also pledged an additional loan worth up to $3bn in deferred payments for oil imports
Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that financial assistance from Saudi Arabia has helped lessen Pakistan’s economic problems, however, he cautioned that the country might still need help from the Fund.
“We have secured an amazing package from Saudi Arabia that has taken off the financial burden,” he said in a televised speech to the nation. He also thanked the Saudi leadership for reducing visa fees for Pakistani blue-collar workers who go to the Kingdom for jobs.
Khan said his government is trying to secure loans from other “friendly countries” to address the nation’s economic crisis and that he would share more “good news” in the coming days.
“We are negotiating a similar package (to the one from Saudi Arabia) with two other countries and hope to secure it,” he said. “If we get this package, we won’t be burdening our salaried class with more inflation.”