The United States has encouraged Pakistan to continue working with the IMF to improve the cash-strapped country’s economy and the business environment to “unlock” the much-needed funds from the global lender.
US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, while talking to media on Wednesday, said that the US is working with Pakistani partners and, in turn, it is working with international financial institutions, the IMF, to put itself on a sustainable growth path.
“Ultimately, it is going to have to be decisions on the part of our Pakistani counterparts to unlock this IMF funding. We encourage Pakistan to continue working with the IMF, especially on reforms that will improve Pakistan’s business environment,” Price said.
“We believe that it will make Pakistani business more competitive, and will attract high-quality investment,” he said.
“They improve the competitiveness of partnering Pakistani firms, fuelling economic growth that increases employment and household incomes. We believe that by continuing down this path and continuing to make the necessary economic decisions, Pakistan can put itself on a path to sustainable growth,” Price said in response to a question.
“When it comes to economic challenges, when it comes to security challenges, when it comes to political challenges, the United States is ready and able to continue to be a partner to the people of Pakistan,” he added.
Pakistan is desperate to unlock the next tranche of a $6.5 billion loan facility with the IMF but struggles to meet tough conditions set by the Washington-headquartered financial body.
The cash-strapped country is taking various steps on the Fund’s behest for the release of a $1.1 billion tranche under the loan facility, including unveiling a mini-budget for fetching additional tax revenues of ₹ 170 billion by raising the GST rate from 17 per cent to 18 per cent.
Offering condolences to the recent lives lost in clashes in Pakistan, Price said that the US is aware of reports about clashes in Lahore, ahead of a planned rally by former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and it encourages all to exhibit restraint.
“We encourage all to exhibit restraints. We offer our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wish a speedy recovery to those who are injured in this,” he said.