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Saturday July 13, 2024

'IMF did not seek fresh financing of $8bn from Pakistan'

Esther Pérez Ruiz says Pakistan's external financing requirements "have not been changed in talks with IMF"

By Ashraf Malkham
May 14, 2023
IMF headquarters in Washington. —AFP/File
IMF headquarters in Washington. —AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Sunday denied local media reports that it was seeking fresh financing of $8 billion from Pakistan for the revival of the $6.5 billion bailout package.

IMF Resident Representative in Pakistan Esther Pérez Ruiz said that the global lender did not demand an $8 billion financing from Pakistan. 

She further said that Pakistan's external financing requirements "have not been changed in talks with the IMF over bailout funds", under a review that would unlock $1.1 billion in financing for the cash-strapped country.

The spokesperson added that it will continue to support financial assistance from Pakistan's stakeholders. 

The statement comes after local media reports claimed that the Washington-based lender was seeking fresh financing from the inflation-ridden nation to back external debt repayments in the next seven months.

It was reported that the lender has sought $8 billion after keeping in consideration all projected inflows and outflows for the May-December 2023 period.

The reports claimed that Pakistan did not accept the new demand put forward by the IMF, saying that the current programme will end in June 2023.

Pakistan and the IMF have been discussing fiscal policy measures in the review since February, aiming to resume stalled funding of $1.1 billion due in November from a $6.5-billion programme agreed in 2019.

On Thursday, the global lender said that the crises-gripped Pakistan needs significant additional financing for the completion of the long-stalled ninth review of the bailout programme, Reuters reported.

The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and China came to Pakistan's assistance in March and April with pledges that would cover some of the funding deficit.

Moreover, Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar on Thursday emphasised that Pakistan would not default, even if a stalled loan programme with the IMF was not revived.

Dar said “rumours” about Pakistan defaulting on its debt obligations should not be spread. “Whether [the deal with the] IMF is [there] or not, Pakistan will not default,” he asserted.