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Pakistan Army Chief Helped Secure Funds from UAE, Saudi to Fulfill IMF Pre-Condition, Says PM Sharif

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday said it was Army Chief General Asim Munir who had been working behind the scenes to secure bilateral financing from friendly countries such as UAE and Saudi Arabia to meet the pre-condition set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure a bailout package. 

Sharif, while addressing a ceremony, said he was now hopeful that the IMF will not delay in releasing the $1.1 billion payment as part of the bailout package agreed upon in 2019. 

“Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir has contributed to the government’s efforts to secure funds from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Hopefully the IMF will now have no excuse to delay the agreement (to release a tranche of USD 1.1 billion),” said Sharif.

UAE and Saudi Arabia Step Up to Help

The cash-strapped country has been looking to secure the IMF package for a long time. However, the international lender has been reluctant to open its wallet, unless Islamabad satisfies its pre-requisites. 

After seeing no light at the end of the tunnel, UAE on Friday confirmed that it would provide a $1 billion loan to Islamabad. A week earlier, Saudi Arabia assured that it would provide $2 billion in the loan amount. 

“Realising our problems, China provided a rollover of $2 billion loan, besides returning back previous debt amount paid back by Pakistan. The UAE had committed a loan of $3 billion,” added Sharif. 

The statement by Sharif come in stark contrast to the announcement made by the Pakistani Army wherein it was said that General Munir had no role in the politics of the country. 

Pakistan Needs IMF’s Help

Pakistan is in dire need of funds. Last week, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank projected the country’s gross domestic product to grow by a measly 0.4 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively. Additionally, the inflation for FY23 was projected at 29.5 per cent and 27.5 per cent. 

Notably, fresh readings issued by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) last month showed that yearly short-term inflation rose by 46.65 per cent during the week that ended on March 22 — the highest recorded in the country’s history.

According to reports, Pakistan has less than a month’s worth of foreign exchange reserves.  Moreover, the global credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded Pakistan’s local and foreign currency credit ratings from Caa1 to Caa3. 

Source : Wion News