(CTN NEWS) – Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed his optimism on Wednesday regarding the approval of a $3 billion nine-month bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the lender’s board meeting on July 12.
During a ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the prime minister stated,
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Optimistic about Approval of $3 Billion IMF Bailout
“Thanks to the efforts of Ishaq Dar and his team, I am hopeful that it will be approved in the board meeting on July 12, God willing.” He further mentioned that the staff-level agreement has already been finalized.
The IMF’s executive board is scheduled to convene on July 12 to review the $3 billion Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) for Pakistan, for which the staff-level agreement was concluded last week.
Earlier in June, Pakistan’s absence from a preliminary schedule sparked speculation that the IMF might not release funds from a previous program that expired on June 30.
However, on June 29, Pakistan reached a stand-by arrangement with the IMF to address its financial crisis. If approved, the nine-month SBA will provide $3 billion, equivalent to 111% of Pakistan’s IMF quota.
Generally, board approvals follow the completion of a staff-level agreement (SLA). While the Pakistan government initially expected around $2.5 billion, it was ultimately offered $3 billion.
Previously, Pakistan had cleared eight out of the 11 listed program reviews, with the ninth review pending since November of the previous year.
Pakistan’s Progress and Commitment to Economic Rehabilitation during Ceremony
The SBA, subject to approval by the IMF board, will offer much-needed relief to Pakistan, which is still facing a severe balance of payments crisis and declining foreign exchange reserves.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has submitted a letter of intent to the IMF, assuring the lender that no new tax amnesty will be introduced over the next nine months.
Addressing the ceremony, the prime minister expressed his gratitude to the IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, and her team, stating that this was an opportunity for Pakistan to progress.
He emphasized that unlike the previous government, which experienced delays in meeting IMF conditions, the SBA program spans nine months, and the current government aims to complete it within the designated timeline.
Furthermore, the prime minister asserted that Pakistan is no longer under the threat of default. He emphasized the government’s responsibility to rehabilitate the country’s economic conditions and help it regain stability.
Celebrating 10 Years of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Future Prospects
The prime minister extended congratulations to the participants, including Chinese Charge d’Affaires Pang Chunxue, on the 10-year milestone of the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) program, which he described as gaining significant momentum.
Highlighting the unprecedented nature of this achievement in Pakistan’s economic history, the premier remarked on the transformation of the landscape into one of the most productive regions in the world.
Thanks to the completion of various projects such as coal power plants, hydropower ventures, the Orange Line, and road infrastructure.
He attributed these accomplishments to the result of tireless efforts.
Noting that Chinese investors had contributed $26.4 billion through the CPEC program in the past decade, the prime minister expressed optimism about the program’s future.
Emphasizing the need to shift towards business-to-business (B2B) development and the creation of economic zones that foster production.
Pakistan today celebrated the completion of the Decade of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a transformational project that has been pivotal to Pakistan's socio-economic development. The last 10 years is an inspirational story of how President Xi Jinping's vision of "Iron…
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) July 5, 2023
He stressed the importance of stabilizing the economy and alleviating inflation for the Pakistani people.
In a tweet, the prime minister hailed CPEC as a transformative project that has played a pivotal role in Pakistan’s socio-economic development.
He credited President Xi Jinping’s vision of “iron brotherhood” and also acknowledged the leadership role of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in achieving the progress made so far.
However, he acknowledged that there is still untapped potential in CPEC and reaffirmed his personal and government’s commitment to realizing its full benefits.
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