PM confident of IMF agreement this month

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Friday that he fully expects an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this month, after which other multilateral lenders would also support the country to help mitigate its economic crisis.

“I fully expect that an agreement with the IMF will be signed this month and we will get out of these difficulties. And multilateral institutions will also support us.”

He made the comments while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Green Line Train service in Islamabad. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Railways and Civil Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal also attended the ceremony.

The premier’s comments follow the IMF’s announcement of fielding its staff mission to Pakistan on Jan 31 for talks on the ninth quarterly review of a funding programme pending for almost four months. The completion of the review would release $1.2 billion for the country, which is facing a severe cash crisis as foreign exchange reserves deplete to a critical level.

It would also unlock inflows from friendly countries and multilateral lenders.

“This is a difficult time,” the premier acknowledged. He added, however, that the coalition government was trying day and night to bring the country out of the difficult economic situation.