Pakistan to continue working with IMF on reforms to improve business environment: US
The US State Department has urged Pakistan to “continue working” with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), especially on reforms that will improve the country’s business environment, highlighting that it would help Pakistan attract “high-quality investment”.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price made the remarks in response to a query at a weekly press briefing on Wednesday.
“We encourage Pakistan to continue working with the IMF, especially on reforms that will improve Pakistan’s business environment. We believe that doing so — and the IMF believes this — will make Pakistani business more competitive [and] will also help Pakistan attract high-quality investment,” he said.
Price’s advice comes at a time when the government is striving to implement measures demanded by the IMF in order to complete its $7bn Extended Fund Facility programme as the country’s reserves are barely enough for three weeks of essential imports.
Amid continuous assurances from Finance Minister Ishaq Dar that the staff-level agreement is “about to conclude”, the international lender has required Pakistan, as a last step, to guarantee that its balance of payments deficit is fully financed for the remaining period of an IMF programme.
Responding to a query during the briefing if the US was worried about Pakistan’s current situation as it faced major economic issues, political challenges and a rise in terror attacks, Price reiterated US support for Pakistan through “economic partnership that has existed with the US over the course of decades now”.
He said that Pakistan was working with “international financial institutions — the IMF — to put itself on a sustainable growth path”.
“The United States is ready and able to continue to be a partner to the people of Pakistan and to our Pakistani counterparts as well,” he added.
In response to a question about if the US was not using its “friendly influence” that it had at the IMF to help Pakistan secure the deal, the spokesperson said: “Ultimately, it’s going to have to be decisions on the part of our Pakistani counterparts to unlock this IMF funding.”
Encouraging Pakistan to continue working with the money lender, Price highlighted that the technologies, market connections and management systems that accompany the deal were of more value than the “potential investment dollars”.
“They improve the competitiveness of partnering Pakistani firms, fueling economic growth that increases employment and household incomes,” he added.
The state department official asserted that it believed Pakistan could put itself on a path to sustainable growth by “continuing to make the necessary economic decisions”.