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Rana Afzal rules out IMF bailout package

Rana Afzal rules out IMF bailout package

KARACHI: Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal has reiterated the government’s resolve that it won’t resort to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to obtain funds.

“Pakistan’s economy is on growth track and the government has sufficient resources to meet expenditures,” the newly-appointed state minister said, addressing a media briefing.

Afzal’s reiteration is an apparent response to the reports that the government needs to knock the door of Washington-based lender to improve the country’s balance of payment position.

Yet, Pakistan has already raised $2.5 billion through issuance of Euro and sukuk bonds, while government is also mulling a plan to float another international bond to raise around $1.5 billion in the wake of a positive response to its previous issues.

State finance minister also dispelled an impression that ‘heavy’ external debt repayment is accruing in the next six months. “The country had needed $6 billion for external debt financing, but now it was reduced to $3.1 billion,” he said.

The minister stressed a need of maintaining the country’s foreign exchange reserves, which stood at $20.154 billion during the week ended December 29.

He said Pakistan could compete with regional economies only by achieving eight percent annual GDP growth. Afzal said the country will welcome foreign loans for development projects.

“The present government has initiated many development projects, which are in completion phase,” he added. “These projects will help in growth of economic and social sectors.”

State finance minister further said the present government had suffered a major blow due to removal of elected prime minister at a time when economic indicators were favourable.