General

Asad Umar left for Indonesia to hold talks with IMF

Finance Minister Asad Umar on Tuesday has left for Indonesia to hold talks with International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of measures to steer country s feeble economy out of crisis.
Finance Minister is expected to seek $ 8BN from IMF amid speculations of imposition of strict conditions against the loan.
Earlier on Monday, Finance Minister in a video message had said that the government inherited loans worth billions of rupees which need to be managed.
According to the press release of ministry of finance, soon after coming to power the present Government had expressed serious concerns on the dismal economic situation of the country and had committed to undertake a quick evaluation of all possible options.
The government has inherited 6.6% of fiscal deficit, more than a trillion rupees of unaccounted for losses in the energy sector and an unprecedented and debilitating current account deficit running at $2 billion a month. To mitigate the underlying imbalances, fiscal and monetary actions needed to be undertaken without delay.
In this regard, the Finance supplementary (Amendment) Act, 2018 by the government and the policy rate increases by the State Bank of Pakistan are actions taken to stabilise the macroeconomic situation. In addition, regulatory duties on non-essential imports have had to be introduced to curb the unnecessary growth in imports.
After taking into account the current financial situation and consultation with the leading economists, the government has decided to approach the IMF for stabilisation and an economic recovery program. It should be noted that the government has engaged with the friendly countries in the lead up to this decision and this engagement will continue.
It is important to note that There have been ten IMF programs since 1990s in one shape or the other. It is also essential to remember here that Pakistan has a history of repeatedly resorting to the IMF with every new government being forced to go with IMF program due to legacy of those who held power in the previous government.
The challenge for the current government is to ensure that fundamental economic structural reforms are carried out to ensure that this spiral of being in an IMF program every few years is broken once and for all. In this regard the Finance Minister shall hold meetings with the top leadership of IMF during the annual meetings of World Bank / IMF at Bali later this week.