ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of a default while discussing budget proposals with representatives of local business community during a ceremony held in the federal capital.
Pakistan is witnessing a serious economic turmoil amid declining forex reserves and rapidly depreciating national currency. The government has held several rounds of talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to revive a stalled loan program amounting to $7 billion. However, it has not managed to secure external financing from the international lender despite making an effort to implement all its conditions.
The situation has led to fears of a default on the country’s international financing obligations as the IMF program nears its expiry on June 30.
Addressing the ceremony, the finance minister said Pakistan faced similar threat of default in 2013, adding that no international financial institution or multilateral donor was not willing to provide it external assistance back then.
“If we get together and face this challenge collectively, which is what is happening now, we will come out of [the challenging economic situation],” he told the gathering.
“We are not in a danger of default,” he continued. “Pakistan will not default.”
Dar said his team had completed all the technical work required by the IMF under the 9th review of the loan program.
“It is unfortunate that this review started with a delay of three months,” he said. “Its understanding, which existed before I [took over as finance minister], was that it would begin in November. But it actually started on January 31.”
He added the technical review was over on February 9.
“We have completed all prior actions,” he continued while referring to the IMF conditions required for the resumption of the loan facility.
The finance minister said Pakistan had only completed one IMF program in the past between 2013 and 2016 which was done while he was managing the finance ministry.
He added it was his “sincere effort” to complete this IMF program, though the time was too short for that.
Dar asked the business community for its proposals and put them down in writing, adding the government would facilitate local companies in every possible way.