- Finance

Talks with IMF for bailout package to start soon: Pakistan Finance Advisor to PM Imran Khan

Pakistan Financial advisor Abdul Hafeez Shaikh

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s newly appointed advisor to the prime minister on finance, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on Saturday that talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to finalise a bailout package would be held soon.

Shaikh was appointed as an advisor on Friday following the abrupt resignation of finance minister Asad Umar after returning from the US where he held talks with IMF for a crucial multi-billion dollar bailout package for cash-strapped Pakistan.

Islamabad is seeking USD 8 billion from the IMF to bail itself out from a severe balance-of-payments crisis that threatens to cripple the country’s economy. Pakistan has so far received a total of USD 9.1 billion in financial aid packages from friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE during the current fiscal year.

Shaikh, who took charge of the Ministry on Saturday, said in a brief talk that he would take forward the talks with the IMF. “Both parties want to progress on the matter, and they have a commitment to us. I will be contacting the IMF mission head today evening,” he said.

Shaikh also said that after holding initial talks with top officials of his ministry he realised that the next budget can be presented no earlier than May 24. He also said that he has already tasked the officials to prepare a medium-term strategy paper to move the country forward.

Shaikh was also expected to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss the economic situation and work out a plan to rebuild the shattered economy. His immediate task is to negotiate and favourable assistance package with the IMF and control inflation which cost his predecessor his job.