Pakistan Has Told IMF It's Willing To Enter A Deal, Says PM

Pakistan Has Told IMF It's Willing To Enter A Deal, Says PM
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the country has shown International Monetary Fund (IMF) its willingness to enter a deal, as the country continues to battle an intensifying financial crisis.

"[The government told IMF that it] wants to complete the programme for the 9th review," he said at the relaunch of an agricultural loan scheme for youth, in Islamabad.

"IMF stands with Pakistan," he quoted the global financial institution as saying. "We will pull the country out of this crisis."

On the occasion, he said that the agricultural loan scheme will enable youth to turn into entrepreneurs, saying it aimed at promoting self-employment amongst them.

Under the scheme, people in the age group of 21 and 45 years will be able to borrow up to Rs7.5 million.

He added that for IT and e-commerce businesses, the minimum age limit for the borrowing has been set at 18 years.

PM hoped that the microfinancing will help promote job creation, rather than job seeking, in the growing population. He hoped that agricultural loans will help rural youth to bring innovation in farming, such as mechanised farming.

"A 25 percent quota has been reserved for women, and the facility can be availed via Islamic banking."

According to the premier, "There will be no interest rate on the loan of up to Rs0.5 million. A 5 percent interest will be charged on the borrowing of over Rs0.5 million to 1.5 million."

"A 7 percent interest rate will be charged on the loan of over Rs1.5 million to Rs7.5 million," he said.

The premier further said that the scheme allows a lending of Rs1.5 million on the borrower's personal guarantee.

Last week, the Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha said that the government was willing to accept all conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to revive the deal with them.

“The government is willing to make tough decisions,” Pasha had said during a briefing to the Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance.

According to the minister, the government doesn’t want to burden people, but that the ‘IMF wants to steer us in a different direction.’

Pakistan is currently facing a possible default in the backdrop of multiple financial and political crises.