By Gibran Naiyyar Peshimam and Ariba Shahid
According to the finance minister, it is not clear whether Pakistan can successfully finish its IMF assessment or if they will be able restructure their bilateral debt. He reiterated, however, that he will not contact Paris Club nation creditors to seek haircuts or ask for a review.
Ishaq dar told journalists that “we’ll see what happens” after releasing Pakistan’s budget for 2023-24. He was referring to the ongoing discussions between Pakistan and the IMF regarding its unpaid bailout funds.
Dar stated, “In any case, we’ll talk to our bilateral creditors. “.
Pakistan struggles to come to an agreement with IMF and its programme expires this month. It still has about $2.5 billion of funds to release. The country is experiencing record inflation and fiscal imbalances, with reserves barely covering a month of imports.
In fiscal year 2021 Pakistan had a debt of $37 billion, with $23 billion owed to China.
Dar, during a press conference held on Saturday said that a 3.5% growth in the economy was “a realistic target”, and also “in the lower end”.
Dar expressed “hope” that Pakistan would be able to pass the next IMF assessment, which will be its ninth. However, he said “he didn’t believe” this would happen.
The budget states that Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the country’s total domestic product, will only grow by 0.29% in this year. However, the fiscal deficit for the same period will reach 6.54%.
Dar stated that there is no room for further reduction in the fiscal deficit targets.
To unlock funds under the IMF’s long-awaited ninth review, Pakistan must obtain firm and credible financial commitments in order to fill the gap of $6 billion that exists between its reserves.
Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates committed just $4 billion for the project.
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