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Last Updated : Oct 24, 2018 08:57 PM IST | Source: PTI

Pakistan to seek IMF bailout despite $6 billion Saudi assistance

Sources in the finance ministry told PTI that Pakistan needed about $10 billion in the current fiscal year to support its imports and paying foreign debts.

Pakistan has not dropped the idea of seeking assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) despite Saudi Arabia offering $6 billion aid package to mitigate pressure on the cash-strapped country's foreign exchange reserves, officials said on October 24.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier this month gave green signal to Finance Minister Asad Umar to seek the IMF bailout after initial failure to secure much-needed assistance from "friendly countries".

But the situation changed when Khan on October 22 dashed to Riyadh to attend a Saudi-sponsored international investment economic forum despite its boycott by the European and American investors in the wake of murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khan's meeting with Saudi King Salman and his powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman resulted in the singing of agreement to provide Pakistan $3 billion to support balance of payment and give oil worth $3 billion on deferred payments.

As stock market showed bullish sentiment and rupee gained against dollar, questions were raised if Pakistan still need the IMF package.

Sources in the finance ministry told PTI that Pakistan needed about $10 billion in the current fiscal year to support its imports and paying foreign debts.

"The idea of seeking IMF support is still on the table and negotiations will be held in the first week of November," they said.

But they said that Pakistan's bargaining position was strengthened after the Saudi commitments.

The sources also said that Khan would visit China from November 3 and it was possible to get financial assistance to further decrease reliance on IMF bailout.

Earlier, officials said that Pakistan would seek around $8 billion from the IMF which would be the biggest package by the Fund for Islamabad.
First Published on Oct 24, 2018 08:41 pm
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