Prime Minister Imran Khan met Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday.
The meeting was reportedly aimed at discussing issues holding up bailout negotiations.
The premier also held a meeting with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan after arriving in Dubai for a day-long trip to attend the seventh edition of the World Government Summit.
The two exchanged views on matters of mutual interest, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said in a statement issued on social media.
Prime Minister Imran also met Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad El-Din Rafik Al-Hariri.
The premier was warmly received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan upon his arrival.
The premier was invited to attend the Dubai conference by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al Maktoum. He is accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile and Industry Abdul Razak Dawood and Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi.
In his keynote address at the summit, the premier invited foreign investors to invest in the country, which he said was on upswing following his vision for a “strong and prosperous Pakistan”.
“Pakistan is on the upswing this is the time to come to Pakistan, don’t miss the boat,” PM Imran said while addressing the 7th World Government Summit in Dubai.
His participation at the annual gathering of heads of states and governments, experts and policymakers, will stress the country’s interest in economic growth and green development.
Regarding the premier’s meeting with the IMF chief, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had told Reuters that Imran and Lagarde will be discussing issues holding up bailout negotiations.
“This will give us a chance to understand the IMF views and we will be able to give our version to (Lagarde),” said Chaudhry.
He added that Pakistan wants any agreed bailout package, which would be the country’s second IMF bailout since 2013, to be the nation’s last such economic rescue by the IMF.
Officials had expected talks to conclude in November but they have been delayed as Islamabad harbours concerns that the programme could derail the economy and Khan’s plans for his term in office.
Pakistan has in the meantime sought financial assistance from Middle Eastern allies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who have loaned it in excess of $10 billion to ease the pressure on its dwindling foreign currency reserves.
“The problem is not the (IMF) deal, the problem is the condition attached to the deal,” said Chaudhry. “We don’t want conditions that hurt Pakistan’s growth prospects. We want a fair deal that can actually help Pakistan in the short-term, without affecting our long-term economic goals”.
The IMF talks come amid a worsening macroeconomic outlook, with growth expectations slashed for the current fiscal year to about 4 per cent from 6 per cent previously forecast.
On Saturday, Pakistan also revised its growth figures for the last financial year to 5.2 per cent from a previously reported 5.8 per cent, after a sharp cut in the figure for large-scale manufacturing, the statistics office said. When the original estimate was reported in April by the government of the then prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi it was hailed as the strongest growth in 13 years.
Before the revisions to last year’s GDP figures, Pakistan’s deficit-to-GDP ratio, estimated at 5.8 per cent in 2017-18, was expected to hit 6.9 per cent this year, according to the IMF data.
Pakistan is seeking its 13th bailout since the late 1980s to deal with a current account deficit that threatens to trigger a balance of payments crisis, but talks have been delayed by difficulties in reconciling IMF reform demands with Islamabad’s fears the push is too drastic and could hurt economic growth.