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October 15, 2018

Government rejects US approach to IMF bailout - via Business Recorder

Government rejects US approach to IMF bailout - via Business Recorder

Terming the US statement that it will examine closely Pakistan''s request for a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as ''totally wrong,'' Finance Minister Asad Umar Saturday said that discussions are also being held with Saudi Arabia on an arrangement for provision of oil to Pakistan on deferred payment.

The minister stated this during an informal discussion with mediapersons after his return from the IMF-WB meeting. He said that common man will faced negative impacts of the wrong policies pursued by the previous government, adding that the IMF stabilization programme is being taken for fixing them.

The finance minister said that Pakistan will not accept any condition of the IMF that compromises security of the country and if any such situation comes during the negotiations, Pakistan will not accept it.

The minister further stated that the IMF team will arrive in Pakistan on November 7 for discussion on a new bailout package with Pakistan economic team; however, he did not specify how much the government intends to borrow but stated it may be higher as compared to normal special drawing rights (SDR) quota.

The finance minister stated that the US statement that it will examine Pakistan''s request for IMF loan because a part of it may be used for repayment of Chinese debt is totally wrong, adding Pakistan''s current fiscal year debt repayments are $ 9 billion while there are only $ 300 million loans repayment to China during the next three years. "I have shared this information with the US Under-Secretary of State and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde about Chinese loan. Neither Pakistan nor China has an issue over sharing details of Chinese loans with anyone," said the finance minister.

The US does not have the power to veto IMF loan because the Fund is governed by its Charter and loans are approved for any country with consensus or majority votes of 51 percent in the Fund based on quota, he said. He said that the government has taken friendly countries into confidence before taking decision to formally request the IMF for a bailout package and US does not have veto power.

The minister said that there were no conditions from Saudi Arabia, UAE and China for providing financing to Pakistan. The minister said that engagement with friendly countries is also in the process to explore stop-gap arrangement till finalisation of IMF bailout package. He said that State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) took the decision on exchange rate devaluation. The minister said that effective exchange rate is part of the party''s manifesto and it should be managed by the central bank for economic planning with no role of Finance Ministry. He said that all actions in the market are governed by the SBP and according to his information, the rupee depreciation against the dollar was controlled by the SBP.

The minister stated that he informed the IMF during recent meetings and its delegation''s visit to Pakistan that the government wants to provide social protection to the people.

On a question about loss-making entities, he stated that the government wants to turn around the public sector enterprises (PSEs) by improvising governance in those entities.

The minister blamed the previous government for economic mess and stated that soon after Pakistan came out from IMF extended fund facility (EFF) programme, the country''s foreign exchange reserves started depleting.

Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar stated that a proposal has been given to exporters for clearance of their pending refunds and their response is awaited.

The minister said that so far 21 IMF programmes have been taken by civil and military governments in the country.



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