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Pakistan and IMF start loan talks

Staff Writer | November 7, 2018
The Pakistani government will start negotiating a possible bailout package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from Wednesday, local media reported Tuesday.
Asad Umar
Asia   Minister Asad Umar
According to the local media reports, this would be Pakistan's 13th IMF bailout package since the 1980s.

Pakistan's Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs Asad Umar said that Pakistan was in urgent need of 12 billion U.S. dollars to stave off the balance of payment crisis, out of which, a major chunk would be acquired through the IMF loan.

An official of the Ministry of Finance told local media on Tuesday that the bailout talks between Pakistan and the IMF are likely to stretch over two weeks. The initial round of the negotiations would largely discuss the technicalities of the loan package, he said, adding that the later rounds would include a policy dialogue on the specific contents of the IMF program.

Pakistan is facing tough economic challenges in the backdrop of rising imports bill and shrinking exports besides a decline in foreign direct investment and the government's inability to expand the tax net.

According to the Pakistani central bank's data, the country's current account deficit has increased by 43 percent to 18 billion U.S. dollars in the fiscal year of 2017-18, which ended in June this year. Pakistan's fiscal deficit has also exaggerated to 6.6 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product.