Chinese ambassador Yao Jing on Tuesday called on Finance Minister Asad Umar to discuss bilateral cooperation along with the ongoing projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). During the meeting, Asad briefed the Chinese envoy on the measures taken by the Pakistan government for creating a conducive environment for foreign investments, The Express Tribune reported.
Asad stressed that China is a reliable friend and its support is essential for the socio-economic development of Pakistan. Chinese businessmen and investors would also benefit from the current environment by investing in various sectors of Pakistan, particularly agriculture, housing, health, education and energy, the Foreign Minister added.
The meeting comes amid reports that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has delayed a multi-billion bailout package to Pakistan arguing that the debt-ridden country could probably use the aid to repay its Chinese debt. Government officials on Monday told The Dawn that the global money lender has sought details on the CPEC projects, and demanded a written guarantee that it will not use the aid to repay Chinese loans.
In addition, the IMF also demanded details of more than USD 6.5 billion of commercial loans which Pakistan had received from China in the past two and a half years. In July, China also deposited USD two billion with the State Bank of Pakistan. Last week, three US lawmakers urged the Trump administration to oppose the proposed multi-billion bailout package arguing that the country could probably use the aid to repay its Chinese debt.
An IMF staff mission would be visiting Islamabad by the end of this month to conclude various technical tables that would then be shared with the National Assembly committee. Pakistan is seeking USD eight billion from the IMF to bail itself out from a severe balance-of-payments crisis that threatens to cripple the country's economy. If the deal is concluded, this would be the 14th IMF aid package for Pakistan.