Pakistan PM to meet IMF chief for talks on bailout

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (pictured), will meet International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde in Dubai on Sunday for talks on issues which have held up bailout negotiations, a Pakistani minister said on Saturday.
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.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Khan will meet IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai.
“This will give us a chance to understand the IMF views and we will be able to give our version to (Lagarde),” said Chaudhry, who will accompany Khan to Dubai along with Finance Minister Asad Umar.
Chaudhry said 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.
“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,” Chaudhry said. — Reuters