PM hopeful of IMF agreement being signed this month

  • Says agreement will encourage multilateral lenders to support Pakistan
  • Thanks China for commitment on ML-1 project, providing all possible assistance

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Friday said that he fully expects an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this month, after which other multilateral lenders would also support the country to help mitigate its economic crisis.

“I fully expect an agreement with the IMF will be signed this month and we will get out of these difficulties. And multilateral institutions will also support us.”

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed the views while addressing the inaugural ceremony of Green Line Train service here in Islamabad.

“The coalition government is committed to steering the country out of current economic crisis.”

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Railways and Civil Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal also attended the ceremony.

The premier’s comments follow the IMF’s announcement of fielding its staff mission to Pakistan on Jan 31 for talks for the ninth quarterly review of a funding programme pending for almost four months. The completion of the review would ensure release $1.2 billion for the country, which is facing a severe cash crisis as foreign exchange reserves deplete to a critical level.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony at Margalla Railway Station, PM Shehbaz said the Green Line was launched during the previous government of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. But, unfortunately, the PTI Government of the past discontinued it.

The Prime Minister commended Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique for adopting the model of outsourcing train services, including internal and janitorial ones. He said outsourcing services is the way forward in today’s world as governments should focus on governing institutions instead of running them.

Shehbaz Sharif said state owned enterprises have become loss-making entities due to political interference. “We are focusing on saving each and every penny of the national kitty.” The Prime Minister also expressed the confidence that agreement with the IMF will soon be finalized and after that all multilateral and bilateral institutions will also come forward to support Pakistan.

He said the coalition government is committed to steer the country out of current economic crisis. Shehbaz Sharif also thanked China for its commitment on ML-1 project and providing all possible assistance to Pakistan.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Khawaja Saad Rafique said Green Line Express Train will have luxury coaches.

He said we have signed an agreement with China to import 230 coaches. He said 46 coaches have arrived from and rest will be manufactured in Pakistan under Transfer of Technology agreement with China. Saad Rafique said over 2,000 passengers can benefit from this train on daily basis. He said the train will offer various services, including Wi-Fi, infotainment, bedding, a utility kit and fresh food.

It is pertinent to mention that the Green Line, plying between Margalla Station Islamabad to Karachi, will stop at Rawalpindi, Chaklala, Lahore, Khanewal, Bahawalpur, Rohri, Hyderabad and Drigh Road on the way. The turnaround time of the Green Line is set at 22 hours which will be reduced over time.



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