Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Thursday that Pakistan is close to reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“I and my team are absolutely committed to completing this [IMF] programme to the best of our ability…We seem to be very close to signing a staff-level agreement hopefully in the next few days,” said Dar.

Addressing a seminar in Islamabad, the minister added that the country is facing several challenges currently, adding that the coalition government was handed over an economy that was “in shambles”.

He added that the “government is trying to revive the economy and will overcome the economic problems soon”.

“To top it [off], the previous government had agreed to a loan facility which was extended by the IMF. Unfortunately, instead of honouring the commitments, they didn’t implement but, before leaving the office, had reversed some conditionalities they had implemented earlier. This led to a serious trust deficit between development partners and Pakistan,” he furthered.

However, Dar assured that whatever the situation may be, the agreements of the previous government will be honoured.

Read Foreign exchange reserves fall below $3b to nine-year low

The financial czar furthered that Pakistan’s economic problems have increased since 2018 because former prime minister Imran Khan deviated from the IMF programme.

Dar also said that the former government “damaged the confidence of development institutions”, adding that “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) misguided policies led to lack of foreign investment and increased budget deficit”.

Pakistan and the IMF are heading towards a staff-level agreement at a snail’s pace. A couple of issues remain pending in addition to finalisation of the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP), a set of policies that the country will implement during the remaining period of the current fiscal year.

A day earlier, Central bank Governor Jameel Ahmad had said that a staff-level agreement (SLA) with the Fund was “close to finalisation” but had shied away from giving a date amid his forecast of a reduction in non-debt creating inflows.

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