IMF deal this month: PM

News Desk
Saturday, Jan 28, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Friday said that his government would be able to strike an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the ninth review of the Extended Fund Facility, during the current month.

“I am hopeful that we will reach an agreement with the IMF this month and we will come out of these difficulties and then multilateral and bilateral institutions will work with us,” the premier said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Green Line Express Train Service at the Margalla Train Station.

The IMF delegation will be visiting Islamabad from January 31 to February 9 to continue discussions regarding the ninth review of the $7 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

The premier said that considering the dire situation of the foreign exchange reserves, the government has developed a list of items that need to be imported based on their necessity. He added that the list includes food and medical items.

“How long Pakistan would rely on others to run its matters,” he questioned, adding this journey is difficult but not impossible; however, people would have to work day and night to come out of this crisis. Pakistan would have to stand on its own feet, as the courageous nations stand united while braving the challenges with resilience. The premier said the government was trying to save every single penny to prevent the economic crisis.

Shehbaz Sharif expressed confidence that with dedication and commitment, the country would soon regain its glory. He said that the Green Line project, which was initiated during the tenure of the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was delayed by the previous government with mala fide intentions. He endorsed the concept of outsourcing Pakistan Railways to make it better equipped and at par with contemporary services. The prime minister said Main Line-1 (ML-1) railway track was a top priority for the government and mentioned that China was committed to its early completion. He pointed out that the previous government indulged in baseless accusations of corruption against Chinese companies which hurt sentiments of the Chinese officials. The PM said that the coalition government was working on restoring the bilateral ties.

The new train service, comprising modern coaches imported from China, was launched from the Margalla railway station, in the federal capital. The prime minister visited various coaches of the train and appreciated the services provided for the travellers to make their journey comfortable.

The Green Line train will have stops at the stations of Rawalpindi, Chaklala, Lahore, Khanewal, Bahawalpur, Rohri, Hyderabad and Drigh Road, Karachi. The turnaround time of the Green Line is set at 22 hours, which will be reduced gradually.

Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq said the ticket would cover breakfast, lunch, hi-tea, and dinner besides Wifi.

Apart from this, he said high-quality bedding and utility kits will also be provided to the passengers. He said around 2,200 passengers would benefit from the train service to be run between Islamabad and Karachi.

He said Pakistan Railways would formulate rules for the approval of the cabinet in the next few days regarding the collection of revenue from its land. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said Pakistan had become the 24th largest economy in the world under the leadership of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the delay in development projects by the previous government incurred irreparable losses to the country.