Staff-level agreement with IMF to be signed in few days: Ishaq Dar

— says ‘all requirements’ of IMF already fulfilled

— says Pakistan now in position to move forward with ‘full confidence’

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar on Thursday said that the staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would be signed in the next few days as all of the requirements had already been fulfilled.

“We are very close to signing the agreement with the IMF and it would be done in the next few days,” said the minister while addressing a seminar titled ‘Reviving economic stability through strengthening of public financial management’, organised by the ministry of finance here.

The minister said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had also completed the full programme with the Fund earlier in 2013-16 and was committed to completing it now as well despite agreeing to tough conditions by the previous government.

He said a shattered economy was handed over to the coalition government, however, it showed commitment and sincerity to the state by acting upon all the tough conditions made by the previous government with the IMF.

Ishaq Dar regretted that petty politics was still being played over Pakistan’s economy by spreading rumours about falling into default which he said was totally a nonsense attitude.
He said the bad economic crisis which the coalition government inherited was even more deeper and complex than that in 2013 and 1990s but with utmost sincerity and prudent policies of the government, the country had come out of the quagmire.

“We are now in a position to move forward with full confidence,” he said, adding that Pakistan had the resilience to meet the challenges as it had huge resources to cope with the problems, but the only thing that had been lacking was lack of consistency in policies and mismanagement in the fiscal sector.

The minister informed that the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio improved from 73% to 69% in a few years which meant that there was no need to worry about the debts of the country.
He said even the developed countries such as USA and UK had high debt-to-GDP ratios of over 100%, therefore “we need not to worry about”.

He said the country’s foreign exchange reserves got down due to the fact that the government had been only paying back the debts and not getting new debts for the last few months.

Ishaq Dar also invited all political parties to sit together for resolving the country’s long-standing economic issues by setting apart their differences.

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