US doesn’t have powers to veto IMF decisions – Asad Umar
Finance Minister, Asad Umar on Saturday dismissed US statements about reviewing Pakistan’s debt position.
Dismissing Washington statements:
Asad Umar was talking to reports after returning from Indonesia. Where he attended the annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF. Umar said the US does not hold the power to veto decisions by the fund.
Contributors to IMF:
The US is the largest contributor to the IMF. It and has 17.68% of voting rights in major decisions.
China is third, behind Japan, and controls 6.49% of the vote.
The US had said that it will examine closely Pakistan’s request for an IMF loan. It added that “part of the reason that Pakistan found itself in this situation is Chinese debt.”
How Washington would deal with Pakistan’s request?
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said:
“In all cases, we closely examine all of the angles. It will include Pakistan’s debt position. It will be done during evaluating any type of loan programme.”
Minister defended the government’s decision to approach IMF for a bailout, saying it was “inevitable”.
Loan agreements with the IMF:
Addressing a press conference, Asad shared that Pakistan has signed a total of 18 loan agreements with the IMF so far.
Seven of which took place during military rule and the rest during PML-N and PPP tenure.
Asad said, “Imran Khan may have said earlier that Pakistan will not approach the IMF, but it certainly wasn’t stated in the context of the general elections.”
Finance Minister also said that the government would not sign an agreement with the IMF if it would proffer some hard and unbearable conditions for the loan.
The country’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $8.4 billion in September 2018, he said.
Asad said the government is in talks with friendly countries for a loan. No one including Saudi Arabia and China has imposed strict restrictions on Pakistan in exchange of loans, as claimed by the information minister.
The Finance Minister said the past government had also talked to the IMF for a bailout and the present government did not delay approaching the fund.
The stock market rose by 600 points the day after news broke of IMF talks, he pointed out.
Boosting the country’s exports:
“We have to boost our exports or else we won’t be able to break the cycle of debt,” he said, adding that the government will devise a framework with IMF to boost the country’s exports.
On the recent statement by the United States blaming Chinese debt for Pakistan’s bailout request to IMF, Asad said it is not true and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is not the reason.
Managing the currency:
He added that managing currency is the responsibility of the State Bank, not the ministry of finance.
Asad said the government will not accept any condition from the IMF that could harm Pakistan’s national interest.
“The decisions are not to be taken by us, not the IMF,” he added.
He said the country will have to go to the IMF once again due to the flawed economic policies of the previous government.
“We are going to the IMF for the 19th time and we wish that it is the last time we do so,” the minister said, announcing that an IMF delegation will reach Pakistan on November 7 for talks on the programme.