At a time when Pakistan, under the current coalition government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, is facing a towering challenge of reviving its economic and financial conditions and prevent from moving towards a complete meltdown, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has expressed his displeasure over the delay in the ninth International Monetary Fund (IMF) review, saying that he will not bow down to what he termed as “dictation” of the IMF.
Talking to a local media outlet, Dar said that he was not concerned whether the IMF team arrives or not to assess and finalise the pending review of the country’s $7 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
The Minister said that the IMF team is more than welcome to visit as the compliance details for the ninth review was “completely in order”.
“I do not care if they come, I don’t have to plead before them. I have to look at Pakistan’s interest first,” he said.
Dar further stated that the delay was not because of discrepancies within Pakistan’s positioning and standing and went on to criticise IMF’s “abnormal behaviour”, stating that Pakistan will not plead to the global lender nor will take any dictation from it.
“I have reassured them that our ninth review is in order and you should come and give Pakistan the $500 million funds,” he said.
The Minister further said that if the IMF review team does not come to Pakistan for the review, Islamabad has already formulated a plan to manage the financial situation by getting support from “friendly countries”.
“If they don’t come then we will manage, no problem,” he added.
Part of which has already started to come as Saudi Arabia has agreed to extend term of $3 billion deposit for another year, shoring up the country’s foreign exchange reserves and giving fuel to domestic economy.
However, when Dar was questioned about his rigid positioning on the IMF and its worrisome implications and fallout, he stated that he understands the potential fallout of a breakdown in the talks, which was why he was still talking to the lender.
“I know how to complete the IMF programme. The government will not only complete the current programme, it will also make its payments in time and as per schedule. We will not default,” the Minister emphasized.