US calls on Pakistan to move forward on IMF reforms

Washington will continue to support Pakistan through technical engagements and assistance, says State Department official

By AFP

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Published: Thu 27 Apr 2023, 10:53 PM

The United States called on Thursday on Pakistan to move ahead on stalled reforms sought by the IMF, promising technical help as the world's fifth most populous nation weathers an economic crisis.

Pakistan signed a $6.5 billion bailout package with the International Monetary Fund in 2019 but less than half has been released as the country reneges on conditions.

"The reform(s) that Pakistan and the IMF agreed to are not easy, but it's crucial that Pakistan take these actions to bring the country back to sound financial footing, avoid falling into further debt and grow Pakistan's economy," said Elizabeth Horst, the State Department official in charge of Pakistan.

"The United States is going to continue to support Pakistan through technical engagements and assistance, particularly when it comes to encouraging Pakistan to enact policies that promote an open and fair and transparent business climate," she said at the Wilson Center think tank.

The International Monetary Fund wants Pakistan to boost its pitifully low tax base, end tax exemptions for the export sector and raise artificially low petrol, electricity and gas prices meant to help low-income families.

The United States is the largest contributor to the IMF and has a complicated relationship with Pakistan, a partner during the Cold War and "war on terror" that nonetheless maintained ties with Afghanistan's Taliban.

Pakistan earlier this month announced a boost of $1.3 billion from two close partners, China and the United Arab Emirates.


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