Pakistan and IMF negotiators have reached an agreement on a $6bn loan for the country, the finance ministry said last night.
Speaking on state-run Pakistan Television, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, head of the finance ministry, said: 「We have reached an agreement with the IMF staff for $6bn for the next three years. There will be adjustments involved but we will try to make certain that the extent of pain on low-income people is minimal.」
財政部長阿卜杜勒•哈菲茲•謝赫(Abdul Hafeez Shaikh)在官方巴基斯坦電視台發表講話時表示：「我們已經與IMF工作人員就60億美元貸款達成協議，這筆資金將在未來三年期間發放。會有各種調整，但我們將努力確保低收入人群的受苦程度最小化。」
The agreement is yet to be formally confirmed by the IMF』s management and its executive board. But senior Pakistani officials told the FT that the staff level deal announced on Sunday was the most important element in negotiating a new loan. 「The foundation has now been laid for an agreement,」 said one.
The IMF announced the move on its website. 「Pakistan is facing a challenging economic environment, with lacklustre growth, elevated inflation, high indebtedness and a weak external position,」 it said.
The south Asian country has faced an economic crisis over the past year, during which its external foreign currency reserves sunk to the equivalent of less than two months of imports.
Imran Khan, prime minister, who came to power last year, has faced opposition criticism for delaying an approach to the fund for more than nine months after taking office, hoping that the country could receive financial support from allies such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China.
However, in spite of support from the three countries to boost liquid reserves, confidence in Pakistan』s economy remains weak. Last month, Asad Umar resigned as finance minister, and his portfolio was taken over by Mr Shaikh. Mr Umar was considered to have delayed an approach to the fund, instead relying on friendly countries to help.