LAHORE : Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, accompanied by Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb, and Governor Punjab Balighur Rehman, held a press conference at Governor House Punjab.
During the conference, he expressed heartfelt gratitude to China and other friendly nations for their role in saving Pakistan from a perilous economic situation. The Prime Minister highlighted the recent short-term agreement between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and stressed the importance of understanding the factors contributing to Pakistan’s current economic state.
Concerns Over Alleged Rigging and IMF Agreement
PM Shahbaz Sharif attributed the economic downturn to alleged rigging during the 2018 elections and the subsequent agreement with the IMF. He emphasized the controversial export and import activities that ensued, calling for a comprehensive understanding of these factors.
Intense Negotiations and Collective Efforts to Prevent Default
The Prime Minister underscored the intense negotiations with the IMF and the collective efforts of all political parties to prevent Pakistan from defaulting. He mentioned the reassurance from the Managing Director of the IMF that Pakistan’s default was not desired, commending the IMF’s seriousness and commitment, particularly after the Paris Agreement. Pakistan is now set to receive installments under a three-billion-dollar program, with the disbursements expected to begin after the upcoming board meeting in July.
Acknowledgment of Key Players in Securing Loans
PM Shahbaz Sharif expressed gratitude to General Asim Munir, Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and the Pakistan Army for their crucial roles in securing loans from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He extended his thanks to China, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the Islamic Development Bank for their significant contributions to Pakistan’s economic stability.
Reflection on May 9th Events
The Prime Minister reflected on the unfortunate events of May 9th, which he deemed a conspiracy aimed at destabilizing Pakistan. However, he acknowledged the positive outcome of the situation, as it led to the exposure of individuals with nefarious intentions.
Emphasis on the “Master Plan” for Economic Recovery
PM Shahbaz Sharif stressed the significance of a comprehensive plan called the “master plan for the recovery of the economy.” This plan focuses on the revival of agriculture and aims to substantially boost exports, laying a foundation for economic growth.
Standby Agreement with IMF and Expected Benefits
The recently agreed standby agreement of $3 billion between Pakistan and the IMF is subject to approval by the IMF Executive Board in mid-July. This agreement is expected to alleviate external payment pressures and provide support for the social sector. Additionally, it is anticipated to facilitate an increase in tax revenue in Pakistan, contributing to the overall economic stability of the country.