Finance minister to visit US on April 14 for talks with IMF

Pakistan needs new IMF programme for at least three years, says minister

Our Correspondent March 29, 2024
Muhammad Aurangzeb is a seasoned banker with more than 35 years of diverse experience at leading global banks in Pakistan and overseas. PHOTO: FINANCE MINISTRY


Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb will visit Washington on April 14 and 15 for meetings with officials of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

The finance minister, speaking at a ceremony at the Karachi Stock Exchange, said the country needs a new IMF programme that should last for at least three years. 

Aurangzeb stressed the importance of the talks with the Fund and outlined plans for further discussions within Pakistan. He emphasized the need to focus on effective policies to address economic challenges.

The finance czar credited the recent agreement with the IMF to measures taken during the caretaker government's tenure, which helped stabilize the economy.

Read PM gives nod to IMF talks for long-term bail out

PIA privatisation

The minister mentioned efforts to privatize struggling enterprises, such as Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), and to improve airport operations. He expressed his determination to complete the privatization of PIA by June, along with efforts to reduce circular debt and boost exports.

On March 27, the board of directors of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) approved the government’s plan to privatise the national flag carrier ahead of the country securing a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan programme, estimated to fetch $250-300 million through the sell-off likely to a Middle Eastern country


Aurangzeb said a decrease in the inflation rate has been observed and credited the reduction to agreements made during Shehbaz’s previous administration.

"Five per cent growth in agriculture is significant, but we anticipate further growth in this sector,” said the finance minister and affirmed that the growth of the agriculture sector is independent of IMF interventions.

The finance minister also emphasized decreasing circular debt and boosting exports. "At this time, we must work diligently. If any obstacles arise during implementation, we will address them accordingly."

On March 20, the IMF announced a preliminary agreement with Pakistan for the release of $1.1 billion last tranche of a $3 billion bailout after Islamabad committed to roll out a compulsory tax registration scheme for retailers and further increase gas and electricity prices on the basis of need.

The announcement was made at the end of the six-day visit of the IMF mission to Pakistan that -- as anticipated -- conclusively ended without any hiccups.


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