IMF Official Arrives in Pakistan for Crucial Talks on Loan Package

September 10, 2000 - 0:0
ISLAMABAD The International Monetary Fund (IMF) assistant director for the Middle East region arrived here Saturday for crucial talks on a bailout loan package for Pakistan, AFP quoted officials as saying.
Sena Ekin will hold talks with Pakistani economic officials in the light of a report by an IMF technical mission already in Islamabad.
There has been no official word on the size of the loan package being sought by the military government, which emerged from a coup in October last year.
Military Ruler General Pervez Musharraf, currently in New York for the UN Millennium Summit, has said he was "convinced" the IMF would help Pakistan as his government had introduced reforms and made economic revival a top priority.
Pakistan has not received any IMF assistance for the last 18 months when the IMF stalled $1.56 billion of credit over the previous government's failure to meet certain reform targets.
Finance Ministry officials have said ahead of the talks that a good environment had been created for resumption of loans under the IMF's poverty reduction and growth facility.
Musharraf, vowing to revive the debt-ridden economy, has launched a drive to expand the tax net. The government has accelerated privatization, introduced a general sales tax and a levy on agriculture, officials said.
His government last month decided on a privatization drive to fetch four billion dollars over the next two years, saying that 90 percent of the proceeds would be spent on debt servicing.
Pakistan, with low foreign exchange reserves of around one billion dollars, owes an estimated $38 billion to international creditors.