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Pakistan will not default, Dar assures investors while conceding economy in ‘tight position’

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  • Ishaq Dar advises PSX investors to not listen to rumours. 
  • Calls investors to share that Pakistan will not default.
  • Slams opposition for trying to create panic.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday assured investors at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) that the country will not default but did admit that the economy was in a “tight position”.

In his address, the finance czar said he always believed that Pakistan has a prosperous future and “resilience” in its economy. However, he lamented that it was unfortunate that the country has been brought to a point where it should not be.

“It’s been three months since I took charge and we listen every day that there is going to be a default. How will there be a default? There is no chance that Pakistan will default,” the finance minister assured the investors.

Dar assured that Pakistan would survive and is managing itself but conceded that the economy was in a “tight position”.

He added that the country does not have the $24 billion reserves that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) left in 2016 but that was not his fault.

“The fault is in the system and we must ensure Pakistan goes forward,” said the finance minister.

Dar said that as soon as the country’s bond payments came close a “rhetoric” was started that Pakistan will not be able to fulfill its commitment. He added that despite the payment of the bonds the “pseudo-intellectuals” kept claiming.

The rumours were started by the same people who brought Pakistan to this point, he lamented.

“Be conscious, do not listen to them. Disseminate information that Pakistan will not default. I can prove to anyone that Pakistan will not default,” the finance minister maintained.

The finance czar said that for “petty politics and objectives” the country was being harmed.

To prove his point, the finance minister said that Pakistan’s debt-to-GDP ratio is currently 72% while it was 62% when he left the charge in his last stint.

He also gave examples of other countries to further prove his point by saying that the US’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 110%, Japan’s is 257% and UK’s after COVID is 101%.

“I can give you data of dozens of developed countries who are above 100% but I don’t see an alarm there all the time that we are under the debt trap or difficulty. Unfortunately, we are our own worst enemy,” said the finance minister.

Dar told the investors that they have a big role to play and urged them to allocate some time to Pakistan apart from their businesses. He added that everyone needs to work together.

Turning his guns towards the government’s arch-rival, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Dar lamented that the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) was neglected during former prime minister Imran Khan’s tenure.

The finance minister added that they focused on the PSX and the SECP when they came to power and made things transparent.

He added that the PTI government had not appointed three directors at the SECP and they filled the positions once they took over. He added that there was a need to focus on the corporate sector.

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“Ready to work with Pakistan’s new government,” the IMF said.

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In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

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In a new IMF agreement, Pakistan would “raise” the FBR tax-to-GDP ratio to 15%.

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The state bank reserves will be maintained at a level equivalent to three months’ worth of import bills, according to sources in the Finance Ministry.

According to sources, the ministry has also set a goal to maintain the primary balance surplus and reduce the current account deficit.

The ministry insisted that once the existing agreement expires, a new one would be negotiated with the IMF, and that the IMF will also be guaranteed that the requirements will be implemented prior to the agreement being finalised.

The founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) demanded that an audit of the election results be conducted before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved any additional loans for Islamabad. However, the IMF showed earlier today that it was eager to cooperate with the new administration in Pakistan by disregarding the demand.

According to Bloomberg News yesterday, Pakistan is to apply for a fresh $6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to assist the next government in paying off billions of dollars in debt that comes due this year.

According to the article, the nation would attempt to negotiate an Extended Fund Facility with the IMF, and it was anticipated that discussions with the international lender would begin in March or April.

Thanks to a short-term IMF bailout, Pakistan avoided defaulting last summer. However, the plan expires next month, and the next administration will need to negotiate a long-term deal to keep the $350 billion economy steady.

The IMF forced the South Asian country to enact a number of reforms prior to the rescue, including raising its benchmark interest rate, changing its budget, and raising the cost of natural gas and electricity.

According to a fund spokeswoman, the IMF staff is still in communication with authorities on the necessary longer-term reform initiatives. The fund is also prepared to assist the post-election government in addressing Pakistan’s ongoing issues by means of a new arrangement, should that request be made.

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39% increase in IT exports in January: Dr. Umar Saif

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According to Dr. Umar Saif, the acting minister for information technology and telecommunication, IT exports increased by 39.4% to $265 million in January of this year from $190 million in the same month the previous fiscal year.

The IT sector in Pakistan is expanding and breaking records. The minister wrote on X that “IT exports in January are up by 39.4% to $265 million, compared to $190 million in the same month in 2023.”

The minister also revealed that IT exports to the United States over the first seven months of the current fiscal year (July–January) were $1.7 billion, up 13 percent from $1.5 billion in the same time previous year.

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