On Thursday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was pleased with Pakistan’s actions, but the staff-level agreement could not be signed this week. During a seminar in Islamabad titled “Reviving Economic Stability through the Strengthening of Public Financial Management,” Dar expressed hope that the staff-level agreement would be signed in the next few days. He acknowledged that it had taken longer than it should have to complete the ninth review of the “one and only” IMF program that Pakistan had finished, despite his team’s commitment to completing the program to the best of their ability.
While discussing the current government’s economic situation, Dar criticized the Imran Khan-led administration and compared it to the state of the economy when the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government departed in 2018. Dar expressed his disappointment that Pakistan had fallen to the 47th rank in 2022, despite predictions that the country would join the G20 by 2030. He also mentioned that the Pakistan Stock Exchange’s market capitalization had dropped from over $100 billion to $26 billion in recent years.
Dar stated that the debt sustainability of Pakistan was a significant issue, with debt rising from under $30 trillion in 2018 to $55 trillion in 2022. As a result, he explained that debt servicing has increased from less than $2 trillion per annum in the fiscal year 2016-17 to over $5 trillion. He urged the government to reflect on the economic errors made in recent years and work to correct them promptly.