'IMF's bailout package to cash-strapped Pakistan may be delayed', says report
The global lender is pressurising Pakistan to come out transparent on the CPEC project and wants a written guarantee that its assistance will not be used to repay the loans to China.
Pakistan is seeking USD 8 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to bail itself out from a severe balance-of-payments crisis that threatens to cripple the country's economy.
The IMF mission is now more likely to visit Islamabad in May, not April, the sources told the daily.
Earlier this month, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar said that a mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would visit Islamabad soon after the spring meetings of the World Bank Group, which includes the IMF, and an agreement should be signed by the end of this month.
The finance minister, who led the Pakistani delegation at the meetings, went to New York on Friday but his team, which includes senior officials of his ministry and other government agencies, stayed in Washington for further talks.
Umar during a press conference on Thursday said the two sides had "more or less, reached an understanding" on the bailout package and "in a day or two, we hope to reach a full agreement".
An official familiar with the Pakistan-IMF talks said, "Islamabad still hopes to conclude the agreement before June, as they believe the bailout package would help budget prospects."
If concluded, it would be the 14th IMF aid package for Pakistan.
The sticking points, however, are the demands for market-determined exchange rates and sharing details of Chinese loans which Pakistan is reluctant to do.
The IMF insists on full disclosure of all financial cooperation between Pakistan and China, including assistance related to infrastructure development, nuclear power plants, joint manufacturing of JF-17 Thunder fighter jets and procurement of submarines, the report stated.
The IMF is also demanding details of more than $6.5bn of commercial loans Pakistan has received from China in the past two and a half years, the report said.
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