Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Friday reiterated that the country would not default and blamed former prime minister Imran Khan for the country’s economic troubles.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the minister presented a detailed comparison of different economic indicators during the reign of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (2018-2022) and Pakistan Mulsim League Nawaz (2013-2018).
The minister admitted that Pakistan faces a precarious situation but insisted that the country has never defaulted in the past and will not default now.
He also announced that Pakistan is likely to receive around $1.3 billion from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). He highlighted that Pakistan returned the amount to ICBC in the past few months and the bank has now agreed to roll over the amount.
Dar said that Pakistan will receive the first tranche of $500 million in the next few working days with another tranche of $500 million expected in the next ten days after which the remaining amount of $300 million will also be transferred. He explained that Pakistan had returned the loan in a staggered form as well in three separate tranches.
The finance minister said that he is hopeful that the reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will reach $9 billion by June 30, 2023.
SLA with IMF
Responding to a question, the finance minister said that the government has completed all prior actions outlined by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and added that one new prior action was put on the table during recent talks for which the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet has given approval. However, the minister did not give any definitive answer to the question about the expected date of the staff-level agreement with the IMF.
Exchange rate volatility
Responding to another question about the exchange rate volatility, the finance minister said that management of monetary policy and the exchange rate is now the domain of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) under the law. The minister said that there is no intervention by the government to maintain the exchange rate.
Dar said that he is not aware why the rupee depreciated sharply on Thursday and added that he is not sure why the rupee has appreciated today.
The finance minister admitted that the smuggling of dollars to Afghanistan is a serious issue and said that the government is working to overcome it. He highlighted that the central bank and Customs have confiscated consignments of dollars destined for Afghanistan.
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings