‘Last time Pak has approached IMF’

Karachi [Pakistan], Oct 21 (ANI): Pakistan's Finance Minister Asad Umar said that Islamabad has approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for one last time for a bailout, in a bid to stabilise the country's debt-ridden economy. Speaking at an event at the Pakistan Stock Exchange here on Saturday, Umar was quoted by Geo News saying, "This will be the last IMF programme". Asserting that news organisations were portraying Pakistan's financial condition in a negative light, Umar asserted, "The media is portraying the country's economy as collapsing but that is not the case. No alarm bells are ringing." He added that financial gap was USD 12 billion in this year. "In the next seven to eight months, the US dollar will see a decrease of 26 per cent to 27 per cent against the Pakistani rupee. The current account deficit, which earlier rose from USD 2.5 billion to USD 18 billion has started to decrease," he added. Umar informed that the central government had announced steps to improve the growth of stock exchange market and the environment for doing investment. "Doing business in Pakistan has become very expensive (and) the environment for investment and business needs to be improved", he further said. The country's finance minister said that measures will be taken to improve the capital market and increase government's revenue. Earlier this month, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde confirmed that Pakistanformally approached the global lender seeking financial assistance to address its economic challenges. Her comments came after she met Umar, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Tariq Bajwa and members of their economic team in Indonesia. Lagarde added that an IMF team will visit Islamabad in the coming week to initiate discussions for a possible economic programme. Pakistan's economy has been in a limbo for a long time. It was already speculated that Islamabad would have to seek a loan package from the IMF following the general elections which were held on July 25. In June, Pakistan's then caretaker Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar revealed that the government would be seeking financial help from the IMF in order to balance the deficit gap of USD 25 billion in order to infuse some life into the cash-starved economy.
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