US assures support to Pakistan in managing ‘daunting debt burden’

WASHINGTON: As Pakistan seeks to clinch a fresh International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package, the United States on Wednesday vowed its support to Islamabad in its efforts to manage the country’s “daunting debt burden”.

“Pakistan has made progress to stabilise its economy, and we support its efforts to manage its daunting debt burden. We encourage the government to prioritise and expand economic reforms to address its economic challenges,” said State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller, when asked if the US would support Pakistan in challenging times.

Miller also said that US support for Pakistan’s economic success was unwavering and it will continue to engage with the South Asian nation through technical agreements as well as through trade and investment ties, all of which are priorities of bilateral relationship between the two nations.

He also welcomed the staff-level agreement between the global lender and Pakistan on the second and final review under the $3 billion Stand-By Arrangement, which, if cleared by the global lender’s board, will release about $1.1 billion to the struggling South Asian nation.

Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb is currently in the US to hold meetings with the IMF for a new bailout package and attend the World Bank meetings.

Sources told The News that Pakistan decided to make a request for augmenting the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) through climate finance, so there was a possibility for securing $6 to $8 billion SBA.

Ahead of his visit, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said Pakistan was successfully completing its existing programme with the IMF and its economy was performing somewhat better.

“There is a commitment to continue on this path, and the country is turning to the fund for potentially having a follow-up programme,” she said.

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