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Ahsan Iqbal hopeful of early approval to IMF agreement with Pakistan

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has expressed the hope that the international Monetary Fund (IMF) would give early approval to its agreement with Pakistan.

Iqbal, who is on official visit to the US seeking support on the economic front, had a meeting with IMF Deputy Managing Director Antoinette M. Sayeh on Monday. He met officials of the United Nations (UN) and different representatives of key member states.

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Ahsan Iqbal, during the meeting, sought for early approval of staff level agreement between Pakistan and IMF. The minister also discussed issues related to the Fund’s assistance for the country’s agricultural sector especially mitigation of the impact of climate change.

Deputy managing director of IMF acknowledged the efforts of the government for the staff level agreement assuring continued role in stabilizing economy of Pakistan.

The minister has assured the US administration to continue supporting the current setup of Pakistan which he has said “is here to stay”. He has projected stable Pakistani economy offering investment opportunities, media has reported.

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During his meeting with the IMF’s deputy manager, Iqbal underlined the difficult decisions taken by the government on economic and fiscal fronts for unfreezing the remaining tranches of IMF’s $6 billion package. He said that economic stability and socio-economic developments have been the first priority.

IMF Communication Director Gerry Rice had hinted on Thursday that the package for Pakistan would be approved by the executive board within three to six weeks; after the two sides reached a staff level agreement last week. IMF at the time had showed hope that the package would be helpful in decreasing inflation and ending the political stability in Pakistan.

Talking to a delegation of US-Pakistani Business Council at Pakistan Embassy in Washington, Ahsan Iqbal said that the huge market, modern infrastructure and unique geo-location of the country has great opportunities for the businesses and tech entrepreneurs.

On the other side, the US media has prominently reported the defeat of ruling coalition in the by-elections that has reportedly caused political instability along with government’s unpopularity.

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