BALI: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked Pakistan to disclose its debts with “absolute transparency” to receive a bailout package.
A day earlier, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she met with Finance Minister Asad Umar, State Bank Governor Tariq Bajwa and members of their economic team who requested financial assistance to help address Pakistan’s economic challenges.
Ahead of her meeting with the Pakistani team, Lagarade while addressing the IMF and World Bank Group annual meetings said, “In whatever work we do, we need to have a complete understanding and absolute transparency about the nature, size, terms of the debt that is bearing on a particular country.”
She added that the IMF needs to understand the extent of the position of all of Pakistan’s debt, including lending from sovereign governments and from state-owned enterprises, so that its debt sustainability can be determined.
Lagarde also said that an IMF team will visit Islamabad in the coming weeks to initiate discussions for a possible IMF-supported economic programme.
If a package is agreed, it would be Pakistan’s 13th IMF bailout since 1988. The Fund lent Islamabad $6.7 billion in 2013.
US to examine Pakistan’s debt position
Meanwhile, the United States has said that it will closely examine Pakistan’s debt position.
Responding to a question during a press conference, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, “We understand that Pakistan has formally requested assistance from the IMF. In all cases, we examine that closely from all angles of it, including Pakistan’s debt position, in evaluating any type of loan programme.”
“This is something that we’ve been tracking fairly closely,” she added.
She added, “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had spoken about this a few months back, I know, in some interviews not that long ago. I think part of the reason that Pakistan found itself in this situation is Chinese debt, and the fact that there is debt that governments have incurred that they maybe thought wouldn’t be so tough to bail themselves out of, but has become increasingly tough.”