Talks between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund are heading in the right direction as the IMF has softened its stance on some conditions for the bailout package.
This was stated by Federal Revenue Minister Hammad Azhar in a press conference on Thursday.
“We are in constant contact with the IMF and there is some improvement in the earlier conditions set by them,” Azhar said. “We will sign the programme when we feel it is not going to give a shock to the economy or put additional burden on the masses.”
IMF understands our point of view and there is visible progress in the talks, he said.
Answering a question, he said that Pakistan has arranged enough financial resources with the help of friendly countries, which are sufficient for a few months but at the same time the government is in touch with the IMF.
The federal revenue minister said that the friendly countries helped Pakistan because of the goodwill of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Meanwhile, sources in the Ministry of Finance told SAMAA TV that the government has planned a three-year stabilisation programme which also included issuance of bonds in the international market. The government will also launch Panda bond in the Chinese market in April this year. The bailout package with IMF is likely to be signed at the end of the ongoing fiscal year or early next financial year, the sources disclosed.
Azhar strongly criticised the PML-N’s previous government and said that they left Pakistan’s economy in the worst of conditions.
“PML-N leaders say they left Pakistan ‘happy and prosperous with rivers of milk flowing’ and claimed they had had good governance throughout their tenure but in reality, the economy was in its worst shape,” he said.
From August to December 2018, the country received foreign direct investment worth $1.72 billion, he said, adding that this is more than double the figure reported in the first five months of the previous government.
“When they came to power, they first cleared the circular debt without conducting any pre-audits — that’s a separate scandal,” he said. “But by the time they left the corridors of power, circular debt had crossed Rs1,000 billion from a starting figure of Rs580 billion.”
The current account deficit, trade deficit and fiscal deficit reached record levels, he added.
The overall losses of state-owned institutions crossed Rs453 billion from Rs190 billion five years back, including PIA and Pakistan Steel Mills losses of Rs40 billion each.
The federal revenue minister claimed that the economy is now moving in the right direction due to reforms introduced by the PTI government.