IMF approves $6 billion bailout package for cash-strapped Pakistan: The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday approved a three-year, $6 billion bailout package for cash-strapped Pakistan, adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh confirmed. The Executive Board has already released $1bn to Pakistan under the country’s 13th IMF programme. Islamabad will receive $2bn annually under an extended fund facility (EFF), reports said. With the loan package, Pakistan will be able to rein in mounting debts and stave off a looming balance of payments crisis.

Confirming the approval of the loan, IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice said the financial support aims to return sustainable growth to the country’s economy and improve the standards of living. Earlier, the IMF and Pakistan’s government had signed a staff agreement on May 12 in this regard. An IMF team led by Ernesto Ramirez Rigo had visited Islamabad from April 29 to May 11 to discuss a bailout package. At the conclusion of the visit, Pakistani authorities and the IMF mission reached a staff-level agreement over a 39-month EFF for about $6bn.

Pakistan got the loan after fulfilling all of the IMF’s conditions before signing of the agreement. The country’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) gave the approval to jack up the natural gas prices, which was one of the IMF’s conditions for its bailout package. However, the IMF has made it clear that it will send a team to visit Islamabad every three months to review the country’s economic indicators.

Earlier, in an interview to a TV channel, Imran Khan had said the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (PTI) government in Pakistan has already paid back 10 billion dollars on debt servicing on loans taken by the previous governments and the country inherited record current account deficit of over 19 billion dollars. He said the previous government took commercial loans of 14 billion dollars on high-interest rate and Pakistan’s debt soared from 6,000 billion to 30,000 billion rupees because of two NROs given to the leaders of PPP and the PML-N.

Speaking on how Pakistani leaders exploited the country, Khan said Asif Ali Zardari visited Dubai forty times as a President of Pakistan while Nawaz Sharif visited foreign countries costing 640 million rupees.

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