Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz urged that the $3 billion pact signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should be the country's last loan programme with the global lender. The staff-level agreement is on a $3 billion stand-by arrangement, which is subject to approval by the lender’s executive board, the IMF said on Friday.
The long-awaited decision comes after an eight-month delay and offers some respite to Pakistan, which is battling an acute balance of payments crisis and falling foreign exchange reserves, Dawn reported. On Friday, Sharif said it was not a “moment of pride but a moment of contemplation”, questioning whether nations developed on the back of loans.
“Never, forget this, we were forced to take this loan and it is my prayer … that this is the last time Pakistan goes into an IMF programme and we never have to take a loan again,” he added. Regarding his talks with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, the Prime Minister said he had had multiple conversations and exchanges with her in which the Finance Minister and his team presented their facts but despite all that, no progress was being achieved, Dawn reported.
He added that in a meeting with the managing director in Paris last week, he had told her that the government had fulfilled the Fund’s conditions and put its political capital at stake “just so that we can prevent Pakistan from defaulting and we took bitter steps for the country’s economic stability”.