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Asad Umar meets senior IMF officials, WB President in Washington

WASHINGTON: Finance Minister Asad Umar met senior officials of International Monetary Fund for negotiations to secure a bailout package.

The Minister also met the World Bank Group President David R Malpass.

The minister is in the US to attend spring meetings of the World Bank Group, which includes the IMF but has also scheduled a bilateral meeting with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the sidelines. The meeting is pivotal as the US support is crucial for any World Bank or IMF package.

Before leaving to Washington, Asad Umar while talking to journalists in Islamabad had said that hopefully, talks with the Fund for bailout package would conclude during his visit to the US.

In an annual report released on Tuesday, the IMF warned that Pakistan’s growth rate may remain at 2.5 per cent till 2024 unless Islamabad undertakes much-needed economic reforms.

The latest IMF projections for Pakistan also highlight a widening gap between the government’s revenues and expenditures and underline the country’s ever-growing debt-burden. Pakistan has a country quota of SDR 2,031 million with the IMF, which is equivalent to about $2,818m.

A special drawing right (SDR) is an IMF unit for a financial transaction, which includes a mixed basket of currencies. An individual country’s SDR quota broadly reflects its relative position in the world economy. Pakistan became an IMF member on July 11, 1950, and has concluded a total of 21 financial arrangements with the fund since then.

In October, Pakistan formally requested the IMF for yet another economic assistance package and backed it up with a series of meetings with senior officials of the fund.