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October 11, 2018

Pakistan requests IMF for bailout package

Asad Umar announcing government decision to initiate negotiations with IMF for economic recovery.

NUSA DUA, INDONESIA: Pakistan has formally requested the International Monetary Fund for the financial assistance to help address country’s economic challenges, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director IMF said in a statement Thursday. 

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“Today, I met with Pakistan’s Minister of Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Asad Umar, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Tariq Bajwa, and members of their economic team. During the meeting, they requested financial assistance from the IMF to help address Pakistan’s economic challenges,” the statement added without mentioning further details.

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“An IMF team will visit Islamabad in the coming weeks to initiate discussions for a possible IMF-supported economic program. We look forward to our continuing partnership,” it added.

Earlier today, the IMF chief said she would meet with Pakistani officials with expectations that Islamabad will request a bailout of its shaky economy.

Lagarde said the IMF was yet to receive anything formal from Islamabad but that she and other IMF officials would meet with the Pakistani delegation in Bali on Thursday afternoon.

Pakistani delegation holding talks with IMF Managing Director.

"I’m assuming that there might be a programme request on their part, but that has not been discussed and we will explore that this afternoon," she told a press briefing.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday vowed to steer the country out of a looming balance-of-payments crisis, saying it needs $10-12 billion.

"We will get out of this. I will take (the country) out of this," he said.

Khan’s new administration took office in August vowing to weigh up whether to seek an IMF bailout as it sought other avenues of financing.

He has sought loans from friendly countries, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials, and embarked on a series of populist austerity measures.

But help has been in short supply and economists’ warnings have grown increasingly urgent.

Pakistan has gone to the IMF several times since the late 1980s. The most recent was in 2013, when Islamabad got a $6.6 billion loan to tackle a similar crisis.