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IMF Stresses Reform Priorities Over Size of Pakistan Aid Package

The Middle East and Central Asia director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) emphasized the importance of supporting Pakistan and prioritized the implementation of reform measures over the size of any potential financial assistance package during a press conference at the IMF 2024 Spring Meetings.

Muhammad Aurangzeb, Pakistan’s Finance Minister, is currently attending the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington, where discussions about a new multi-billion dollar loan agreement to bolster Pakistan’s economic reforms are underway. Aurangzeb expressed confidence that negotiations with the IMF would not lead to significant devaluation of the Pakistani rupee, citing the country’s stable economic indicators.

Aurangzeb outlined the government’s focus on strengthening key sectors such as agriculture and information technology to drive economic growth beyond 4%. Despite facing substantial external financing needs, he assured that Pakistan was in a relatively favorable position to meet its fiscal obligations.

In meetings with US State Department officials, Aurangzeb discussed enhancing economic cooperation between Pakistan and the United States, particularly in sectors like renewable energy, agriculture, and technology. He also briefed the officials on Pakistan’s reform agenda, emphasizing initiatives to broaden the tax base, reform the energy sector, and promote privatization.

During discussions with the IMF chief and board members, Aurangzeb reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to implementing aggressive reforms aimed at stabilizing the economy. He highlighted the importance of reallocating special drawing rights (SDRs) within the IMF to address economic challenges, and advocated for proactive measures to address global financial risks.

As Pakistan seeks a new long-term financial package from the IMF, it has devised a comprehensive economic recovery plan focusing on taxation, energy reforms, and privatization efforts.

The IMF board is scheduled to review Pakistan’s progress on its current program and discuss the terms of a new package in the coming weeks, with both sides acknowledging the need for a tailored approach to meet Pakistan’s specific needs.

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