I reiterate our stand to support Pakistan: IMF chief Lagarde on bailout aid

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 10, 2019, 07.32 PM (IST) Anas Mallick , Sidhant Sibal

The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde has said that the multilateral institution stands ready to support Pakistan which is facing economic headwinds.

She said this on Sunday after meeting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan who is in the United Arab Emirates to participate in the World Government Summit 2019 in Dubai.

Lagarde, after the meeting, said, “I reiterated that the IMF stands ready to support Pakistan. I also highlighted that decisive policies and a strong package of economic reforms would enable Pakistan to restore the resilience of its economy and lay the foundations for stronger and more inclusive growth."

She said her meeting with Khan was "good and constructive" wherein they discussed the recent "economic developments and prospects for Pakistan in the context of ongoing discussions toward an IMF-supported program".

"As emphasized in the new government’s policy agenda, protecting the poor and strengthening governance are key priorities to improve people’s living standards in a sustainable manner,” Lagarde further added. 

Pakistan PM later tweeted on his meet with IMF chief and said, "In my meeting today with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde there was a convergence of our views on the need to carry out deep structural reforms to put the country on the path of sustainable development in which the most vulnerable segments of society are protected."

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Pakistan is in talks with IMF for a bailout programme. If agreed, this will be the 13th bailout for the South Asian country since the 1980s. The last time Pakistan received a bailout from the IMF was in 2013.

A statement was also released by Pakistan's finance ministry which said that Pak Prime Minister "appreciated IMF’s support to Pakistan and shared his vision for nation-building", reiterating that Pakistan government is committed to "undertaking structural & governance reforms and strengthening social protection in the country".

Both sides also agreed to continue the "deliberations between Pakistani authorities and IMF staff to "finalize an agreement on the contours of a program".

The global rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) downgraded Pakistan from B to B- with a stable outlook in the first week of February due to diminished growth prospects.

Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), last month, signed a $3 billion bailout package, as part of Abu Dhabi's support to boost the cash-strapped country's dwindling dollar reserves.

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Lagarde also highlighted that decisive policies and a strong package of economic reforms would enable Pakistan to restore the resilience of its economy