PM terms $3bn standby agreement reached with IMF ‘breathing space’

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the three billion dollars standby agreement reached with the IMF is a breathing space, stressing for converting it into an opportunity through vision, unity and strategy to achieve sustainable development.

Chairing a meeting of the federal cabinet in Islamabad on Monday, he said that the country will receive the first tranche of 1.1 billion dollars this month. He was especially appreciative of the efforts put in Finance Minister and his economic team as well as Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to reach the nine month agreement with the IMF.

The Prime Minister was however of the view that the agreement with the IMF should not be taken as a matter of pride but a matter of concern.

Stressing for collective efforts, he said we will have to give a future roadmap and policy guidelines so that this IMF deal proves to be the last one for Pakistan.

The Prime Minister recalled that ahead of the deal with the IMF, China provided roll overs of five billion dollars to Pakistan.  He said China has always helped Pakistan in difficult times and our nation will not forget this latest support from the Chinese friends.

He also thanked Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for committing two billion dollars and one billion dollars respectively. He said that the Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir played a crucial role in securing financial assistance from the two Gulf countries.  He said that during his visit to France, Islamic Development Bank also committed one billion dollars.

The Prime Minister expressed serious concerns over the state of affairs of State Owned Enterprises saying they are eating up six hundred billion rupees. He said we will have to take the decisions to put the country in the right direction.

The Prime Minister said Pakistan was faced with dire economic situation over the last fourteen to fifteen months. He however said we will make strenuous efforts to improve the economy.

The Prime Minister strongly condemned the recent despicable incident of desecration of holy Quran in Sweden.  He demanded immediate action against the culprits.

He said it is not the first incident of its kind rather in the past also such horrific acts have taken place. He said the Swedish government should take notice of these Islamophobic acts.

Shehbaz Sharif expressed satisfaction over the emergency session of the OIC on the latest act of desecration in Sweden. He said the OIC in its statement has not only demanded action against the perpetrators but also demanded necessary action to avert such spiteful incidents in future.  He said Pakistan fully endorses the OIC’s stance and hoped needful will be done so that such acts do not recur.

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