Real success lies in getting rid of debt, says PM after IMF’s approval of $1.1bn tranche

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DNA

A day after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the last tranche of $1.1 billion for Pakistan under the $3 billion Stand-By Arrangement (SBA), Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Tuesday said that the “real success” lies in getting rid of the debt.

“Real success lies in getting rid of the debt and not securing [another] loan [tranhce],” PM Shehbaz said while expressing satisfaction over the approval of the third tranche by the Washington-based lender which has already released $1.9 billion to Pakistan under the agreement.

Lauding the financial team, including Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb for their efforts, the prime minister said that the $1.1 billion tranche will “bring more economic stability”.

The premier further noted that the government made bitter and tough decisions concerning the economy, adding that such decisions are now proving themselves beneficial in the form of improved and stabilised economic indicators.

His remarks come after IMF’s Executive Board completed the second and final review of Pakistan’s economic reform programme supported by the SBA.

“The Board’s decision allows for an immediate disbursement of SDR 828 million (around $1.1 billion), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 2.250 billion (about $3 billion),” the IMF said in an official statement.

Underscoring positive development in the country’s economic indicators, the IMF’s Deputy Managing Director and Chair  Antoinette Sayeh pointed out moderate growth, eased external pressures, a decline in inflation and called on Islamabad to capitalise on this hard‑won stability, persevering — beyond the current arrangement — with sound macroeconomic policies and structural reforms to create stronger, inclusive and sustainable growth.

It is to be noted that Pakistan has made a formal request to the IMF for seeking the next bailout package ranging between $6 to $8 billion under the EFF with the possibility of augmentation through climate financing.

However, the exact size and time frame will only be determined after evolving consensus on the major contours of the next programme in May 2024.