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PM Shehbaz thanked Sri Lanka for support in clinching IMF deal

Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are close and reliable friends, said PM Shehbaz.

Islamabad, 17 June, 2023 (GNP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed his gratitude to Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe for supporting Pakistan in reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a telephonic conversation on Monday, according to the sources.

PM Shehbaz recognized Sri Lanka as Pakistan’s close and reliable friend, acknowledging its significant role in regional peace and prosperity. He also conveyed his confidence in both nations’ ability to overcome their current economic difficulties, the sources said.

In response to the premier’s sentiments of goodwill, President Wickremesinghe said, “Pakistan is our close friend and helping friends is friendship.”

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The sources reported that the Sri Lankan President commended Shehbaz’s efforts in steering Pakistan out of a challenging situation and congratulated him on the successful IMF agreement.

On the occasion of PM Shehbaz’s meeting with Managing Director of IMF Kristalina Georgieva, the Sri Lankan President emphasized the need for the IMF’s assistance to Pakistan. He also shared the challenges faced by Sri Lanka due to default and stressed the importance of preventing Pakistan from falling into a similar situation.

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Recently, addressing Pakistan’s economic crisis, the IMF stated that Pakistan’s new SBA-supported program would provide a policy anchor to address domestic and external imbalances. It would also serve as a framework for financial support from bilateral and multilateral partners.

The program’s focus would be on implementing the fiscal 2023-24 budget to facilitate fiscal adjustment, ensure debt sustainability, and protect critical social spending, the IMF stated further.

With the receipt of an additional $3 billion under the standby arrangement over the next nine months, Pakistan is set to become the fourth-largest IMF borrower globally. However, the IMF board has expressed concerns over Pakistan’s poor track record and advised completing the new program to rebuild trust.