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Pak PM Shehbaz Sharif discusses new bailout package with IMF chief in Riyadh

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (Image credit: Reuters)

As the country continues to battle a crippling economy, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif discussed the new bailout package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Special Meeting in Riyadh, Geo News reported.

The discussion took place between the Pakistan PM and the IMF Chief on Sunday.

It was notably Shehbaz Sharif’s first meeting with the IMF chief since his re-election, as he reiterated his government’s commitment to put Pakistan’s economy back on track, reported Geo News.

“Both sides also discussed Pakistan entering into another IMF program to ensure that the gains made in the past year were consolidated and its economic growth trajectory remained positive,” the statement issued by Pakistan Prime Minister’s office read.

Prime Minister Shehbaz expressed gratitude to IMF Chief Georgieva for helping Pakistan obtain the USD 3 billion SBA from the global lender last year, which was now almost finished.

The event occurred one day before the IMF Executive Board meeting that was scheduled to deliberate on the USD1.1 billion last tranche of the USD3 billion short-term credit programme.

The prime minister announced during the meeting that he had given his finance minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, full authority to oversee the implementation of structural reforms, enforce stringent fiscal restraint, and adopt sensible policies that would guarantee macroeconomic stability and long-term economic growth.

The premier was briefed by the IMF MD about the organization’s viewpoint on the current programme, including the review procedure.

According to The News, Pakistan has formally requested the IMF to seek the next bailout package under the EFF, which may be increased through climate funding and would likely total between USD6 and USD8 billion.

However, the precise scope and duration won’t be known until May 2024, when a consensus has been reached on the main features of the upcoming plan.