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Pakistan, International Monetary Fund inching closer to deal

Pakistan, International Monetary Fund inching closer to deal

dpa
Islamabad
Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are inching closer to striking a deal to help the country overcome a deepening economic crisis, Pakistan’s finance minister said on Monday.
“Pakistan is close to finalizing a deal with the IMF,” Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Monday, hours after Prime Minister Imran Khan met IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of World Government Summit.
“I have witnessed a change in IMF’s position. hopefully we will have a good deal,” Umar said while addressing the business community in the north-west city of Peshawar.
Talks with the IMF are likely to resume during the week to finalize an agreement, said Khaqan Najeeb, a spokesman for the Finance Ministry.
Pakistan is expecting a bailout package woth up to six billion dollars, a senior finance ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
The IMF had asked Pakistan to lessen intervention into its exchange rate, among other demands during inconclusive talks held in November, he said. Pakistan is facing a 12-billion-dollar financing gap for the current fiscal year. The new government, which took over in August, requested a bailout package from the IMF and reached out to “friendly” countries.
In October, Saudi Arabia announced it would lend 3 billion dollars to Pakistan’s central bank for a year to help maintain depleting reserves at a safe level and another 3 billion dollars for the supply of oil on deferred payment.
Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar on Monday said that Pakistan and International Monetary Fund (IMF) would soon sign an agreement as the differences have been ironed out.
Talking at a gathering here the finance minister said the government will try to ensure this deal with the IMF remains Pakistan’s last bailout from the monetary fund.
Referring to tax refunds Umar said the mechanism of refunds has been approved. He said the release of refunds will be started soon.
He said the harassment from the FBR would not extend the tax net. According to Ministry of Finance sources, Pakistan and IMF have agreed over the key features of the bailout deal after.

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