Will have to agree to IMF terms that are ‘beyond imagination’, says PM

February 04, 2023

PM Shehbaz said the government will have to agree to the IMF bailout conditions that were “beyond imagination”

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PM Shehbaz photographed on January 11, 2023. PID

PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Friday said the government will have to agree to the IMF bailout conditions that were “beyond imagination”, as it battled a spiraling economic crisis.

“I will not go into details but will only say that our economic challenge is unimaginable. The conditions we will have to agree to with the IMF are beyond imagination. But we will have to agree with them,” he said in televised comments.

The economy is in dire straits, stricken by a balance of payments crisis as it attempts to service high levels of external debt, amid political chaos and deteriorating security.

Foreign exchange reserves dropped again this week to $3.1 billion, which analysts said would be enough to cover less than three weeks of imports, while the rupee is at a record low against the US dollar.

The world´s fifth-biggest population is no longer issuing letters of credit, except for essential food and medicines, causing a backlog of thousands of shipping containers at Karachi port stuffed with stock the country can no longer afford.

Data on Wednesday showed year-on-year inflation had risen to a 48-year high, leaving the nation struggling to afford basic food items. “Poor people will not be able to survive,” said Samina Bhatti as she shopped at a market in Islamabad.

“Petrol is so expensive, what will they do, will they start travelling on foot? A daily wage earner can´t afford the rent on his home,” she said.

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