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Saturday, May 25, 2024  
16 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

Pakistan speaking to bilateral lenders to restructure debt: Dar

Pakistan is a victim of geopolitics, can't say more on camera, says finance minister

Pakistan is speaking to its bilateral creditors to restructure its debt, the cash strapped country’s finance minister said on Friday.

Pakistan’s IMF programme runs out this month with about $2.5 billion in funds yet to be released as it struggles to strike an agreement with the lender, as it grapples with record inflation, fiscal imbalances and critical levels of reserves that cover barely a month worth of imports.

Bilateral creditors made up $37 billion of Pakistan’s debt in the fiscal year 2021, out of which $23 billion is owed to China, according to an IMF country report released last year.

Minister Ishaq Dar said, “We are in the process of engaging bilateral lenders to restructure debt,” speaking on Geo News hours after presenting the country’s national budget.

“No haircuts will be made… Interest will be serviced, and principal payments will be staggered,” said Dar.

In order to unlock funding under its long delayed 9th review, Pakistan is required to secure firm and credible financing commitments to close the $6 billion gap. The government has only been able to get commitments of $4 billion, mainly from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The country has also rolled over debt from China as its reserves reach critical levels.

“This is geopolitics. I can’t say much on camera,” he said while responding to a query on the delay in signing the deal with IMF. “Pakistan’s programme of the ninth review should have been over in February. This is total unfair treatment to Pakistan.”

He blamed political instability, May 9 events, the IMF, and “other” institutions for the delay in the IMF programme.

“You should not corner Pakistan in such a way, I am speaking about those institutions,” he said and reiterated the country has completed all requirements.

He was adamant that the FBR would meet the revenue target as it was not any “guestimate”.

When asked about the government’s intention to allow people to bring $100,000 here and no question would be asked, the finance minister said that earlier it was Rs10 million that amount to $100,000.

“So this is the revival of that same scheme,” he said and dispelled the impression that it was considered as an amnesty. Dar added that the step was taken on demand of the business community.

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Ishaq Dar

Finance minister

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