Economics & Business

IMF agrees to release next installment of $840 million to Pakistan: Tareen

ISLAMABAD: The Advisor on Finance Shaukat Tareen has said the national economy is improving gradually and Pakistan would become in a position to reduce its fiscal deficit upto two point four percent during the next two years.

Addressing a news conference here Friday, he said the IMF has expressed satisfaction over economic performance during the six months and has agreed to give fiscal space for further improvement in the economy. He said the IMF has also offered additional help to support our economy and the government is considering to get standby facility from the IMF in its meeting in June this year.

Mr. Shaukat Tareen said Pakistan has asked the IMF to provide short term assistance for rapid development in Agriculture, Energy and infrastructure sectors. To a question, he said Pakistan has achieved all targets set up IMF, therefore it has decided to release the next installment of 840 million dollars shortly.

The Advisor said that World Bank has also assured to enhance funding for Pakistan upto three hundred million dollars during the next three years besides considering positively for providing financial assistance to build water resources.

He said five point two eight billion dollars pledges have been made at Friends of Pakistan Forum held in Tokyo and out of this amount about one billion dollars would be provided as grant and in the shape of soft loans. He said major amount from this assistance would be spent on poverty alleviation and improvement of education and health sectors.

Mr. Shaukat Tareen said World Bank, IMF and Islamic Development Bank have agreed to provide funds for CASA REM energy project in Tajikistan that would generate one thousand megawatt electricity for Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said after developing transmission lines to supply this power Pakistan can also purchase three thousand megawatt electricity generated through hydel resources on cheaper rates that would help in overcoming energy crisis.

He said Asian Development has also pledged to increase funding for Pakistan from current level of four point five billion dollars. He said the Bank has also agreed to favourably consider for providing financial assistance to construct new dams in the country.

Answering questions, he said keeping in view the current security situation, Pakistan needs at least ten billion dollars to expand its security forces network and equip them with modern technology and latest training to curb the challenges of terrorism.

To another question, he said the United States has agreed to expedite the process of completing Free Trade Agreement with Pakistan that will help boost Pakistani exports to that country. He said Pakistan has also asked the US government to expand the network of reconstruction opportunity zones upto Balochistan.

He said Pakistan and Libya have also agreed to form strategic economic partnership and bases for this partnership have been laid down in the recent visit of the President to that country. He said the Libyan government has also agreed for inviting Pakistani construction companies to participate in the infrastructure development there. NNI

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Haroon Akram Gill

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