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'Decisive' policies and reforms must for Pakistan's economic stability: IMF

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Islamabad: Pakistan is facing a "challenging" economic environment and "decisive" policies and reforms are needed to stablise the economy, the IMF has warned as it reached a deal with the cash-strapped government of Prime Minister Imran Khan on a USD 6 billion bailout to stave off an financial crisis.

The funding, which still needs approval from the International Monetary Fund's management, would be provided over three years. The agreement comes after months of negotiations that saw the sacking of Pakistan's finance minister, the governor of the central bank as well as the top revenue officer.

"Pakistan is facing a challenging economic environment, with lackluster growth, elevated inflation, high indebtedness, and a weak external position," IMF representative Ernesto Ramirez Rigo said in statement on Sunday after the agreement was reached with the Pakistan government.

Pakistan has faced an economic crisis with short supplies of foreign currency reserves and stagnating growth. In February, the central bank had only USD 8 billion left in foreign reserves.

"This reflects the legacy of uneven and procyclical economic policies in recent years aiming to boost growth, but at the expense of rising vulnerabilities and lingering structural and institutional weaknesses.

The authorities recognise the need to address these challenges, as well as to tackle the large informality in the economy, the low spending in human capital, and poverty," he said.

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