CPEC not responsible for Pakistan’s financial woes: Asad Umar


ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar has dispelled the impression that Pakistan was faced with a financial crisis owing to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
“It is not true that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the reason for our economic crisis,” Umar told a press conference here on Saturday.
The finance minister said that approaching International Monetary Fund was unavoidable due to multiple factors.
“I never said we will not approach IMF,” Finance Minister Umar said while addressing a press conference here on Saturday.
Sharing details of the previous bailouts, he said Pakistan has so far signed a total of 18 loan agreements with the IMF during military and civilian rules of PML-N and PPP.
“Our current account deficit is running into $2 billion a month and our trade deficit has increased due to globally rising petrol prices. The bailout was unavoidable,” he told the media.
The country’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $8.4 billion in September 2018, he said.
Umar said the government is in talks with friendly countries for loans. No one including Saudi Arabia and China has imposed strict restrictions on Pakistan in exchange of loans, he said.
The finance minister said the past government had also talked to the IMF for a bailout, and the present government did not delay approaching the Fund.
The stock market rose by 600 points the day after news broke of IMF talks, he pointed out.
Umar said the government has told IMF that subsidies are necessary for the poor.
“We have to boost our exports or else we won’t be able to [break the cycle] of debt,” he said, adding that the government will devise a framework with IMF to boost the country’s exports.
He added that managing currency is the responsibility of the State Bank, not the Ministry of Finance.


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