The Pakistani government will not approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package as of now and will instead explore alternative options to bring the cash-strapped country's economy back on track, Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Saturday. Umar made the remarks while talking to businessmen at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dawn online reported. He said that instead of rushing into the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, the government was looking at different avenues.
The minister also announced that the government will unveil a mini-budget on January 23 instead of January 21, citing Prime Minister Imran Khan's travel commitments. Umar rejected reports that the government was only borrowing money, saying several agreements had also been signed to bring investment into the country. "The impacts of the investment agreements will start surfacing from the next week," he added. Pakistan is in talks with the IMF to secure an $8 billion bailout deal for its ailing economy.
Earlier this month, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) finalised a $6.2 billion support package to help Islamabad address its balance of payments challenge. The package involved $3.2 billion worth of oil supplies on deferred payment, besides a $3 billion cash deposit. Pakistan has already received $2 billion in cash deposit from Saudi Arabia, while the third tranche of $1 billion is due in the first week of February.
During Khan's visit to Saudi Arabia in October, it was announced that the kingdom will provide a $6 billion package to Islamabad. The deal included $3 billion in the balance of payments support and just as much in deferred payments on oil imports. Pakistan's "all-weather friend" China too, had pledged to lend it financial support to shore up the dwindling foreign exchange reserves.
(With inputs from agencies.)