Asad Umar: “Pakistan is Not in Such an Emergency that it Rushes to IMF”
Finance Minister of Pakistan, Asad Umar has recently declared that Pakistan is not facing a financial emergency crisis and claimed that there is no need for the country to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout.
In an interview with Arab News, the finance minister said, “Pakistan is not in an emergency situation that requires it to rush to the IMF to seek a bailout.”
“We have neither stopped imports nor imposed financial sanctions,” he added.
However, the finance minister also stressed on this matter, “We need to take well-measured decisions. As a situation emerges, we take steps to manage it. We don’t want to take decisions in an emergency.”
The finance minister also revealed that the scheduled visit of IMF’s staff to Pakistan on the 27th of September will not be for monetary purposes, “We are in discussion with them, but this is not to negotiate for a loan. Our purpose is to do our homework, in case we want to approach them at some stage.”
When talking about managing the balance of payment deficit, Umar said: “We are eliminating the root cause of this problem, and that root cause is a fiscal deficit. We have done that through the recent finance bill which will reduce our cost of import.”
Umar also revealed that PM Imran Khan’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates took place for discussing measures for trade enhancement and investment. “These are measures which will help fill the external financing gap,” he added.
When talking about the steps taken to increase the country’s exports to ease its external payment obligations, the finance minister revealed, “During the upcoming international trade exhibition, which will be attended by the prime minister as one of the chief guests in China on November 4 and 5, we will discuss items line by line so that they can give us trade concessions to increase exports to China.”
“Similarly, when the Saudis will come, decisions will be made here in Pakistan about trade enhancement and investment,” he further added.
Umar also said that the government is also planning to float overseas dollar-based saving certificates for Pakistanis living abroad.
“We will float them in October, but it will not be a one-time issue. We will be floating these certificates periodically for overseas Pakistanis,” the finance minister added.
Areas of investment will soon be finalized by Pakistan and Saudi
While speaking about Saudi Arabia being a third partner in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the finance minister said that the volume and areas of Saudi investment will be decided when Saudi’s delegation comes for a scheduled visit to Pakistan for the first week of October.
Umar also claimed Riyadh would “invest $10 billion in Pakistan” and said the volume of investment had not been decided as of yet.
“The prime minister’s visit was meant to make agreements at the highest level with the King of Saudi Arabia and build a stronger relationship. In principle, only verbal discussions have taken place so far,” he added.
Umar further added, “We have discussed trade-related issues, foreign direct investment, visa fees, and issues faced by our laborers.”