Another IMF programme is a must for Pakistan, says Miftah

ISLAMABAD: Former Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has said that Pakistan would have to enter another International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme after the current one ends in June due to declining foreign exchange reserves. “When this [programme] ends in June, we will probably not have much more than $10 billion in reserves, if that. That would be about a month and a half of import cover,” he said while speaking to a private tv channel. Consequently, the country would have to approach the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for loans, which would require it to enter another IMF programme.
“Because of the debt repayment we have to do now — about $20bn for the foreseeable future — I am pretty sure we will have to have back-to-back IMF programmes.”

Terming the IMF a lender of last resort, Ismail said it was similar to being admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). “You want to avoid going to the ICU, you have to start living a healthy life. Once we start living within our means, once we start pursuing rational and intelligent economic policies, then we can avoid going to the IMF.

“But if we continue living as we are, going from one boom-bust cyle to another, IMF is the lender of last resort and we have to keep going to it,” the former finance minister added. –Agencies