IMF engagement should not hinder Pakistan’s economic progress: PM Shehbaz

Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif asserted on Tuesday that any forthcoming engagement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) must not impede Pakistan’s economic progress.

His remarks come in the wake of discussions regarding a potential Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the IMF, scheduled for deliberation in Washington next month, as the nation grapples with mitigating a looming economic crisis.

With the expiration of the standby $3 billion arrangement with the IMF looming on April 11, recent negotiations have culminated in a staff-level agreement, paving the way for the disbursal of the final tranche of $1.1 billion.

PM Shehbaz, following his re-inauguration, promptly directed his financial team to initiate efforts towards securing an EFF from the IMF.

Speaking at a ceremony in Islamabad, the Prime Minister underscored the indispensability of another IMF programme while highlighting the imperative of simultaneously pursuing economic expansion.

He highlighted key areas such as agriculture, IT exports, and both traditional and non-traditional exports as avenues for growth, questioning any limitations posed by an IMF programme on such initiatives.

“If there is an IMF programme, who has stopped you from doubling agriculture output? from increasing IT exports? from increasing traditional and non-traditional exports?” PM Shehbaz posited, stressing the compatibility of economic growth initiatives with an IMF programme.

He cautioned against using the IMF as an excuse for stagnation, urging prioritisation of domestically controllable economic avenues.

In reiterating his stance, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif conveys a dual commitment to engaging with the IMF while ensuring a steadfast focus on bolstering Pakistan’s economic trajectory, fostering employment, and curbing inflation.

As the nation navigates through economic challenges, the Prime Minister’s emphasis on proactive economic strategies resonates as a call to action for sustainable growth and resilience.

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