Pakistan seeks $1.4 billion IMF loan to tackle economic slowdown from COVID-19


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is seeking another $1.4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help it deal with the economic slowdown from the coronavirus, government finance adviser Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on Wednesday.

The government will also be seeking more support from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, Sheikh added.

“This 1.4 billion we are requesting will be a low cost, fast disbursing loan,” he told a news conference in Islamabad. He said Pakistan would like the IMF to consider the loan separately to funds it had already set aside for losses to economies across the world due to the pandemic.

“We would like to secure funds for us before those losses are evaluated,” he said.

The IMF agreed to a three-year rescue package last year — its 13th bailout program for Pakistan since the late 1980s — as the South Asian country of 208 million people wrestles with a balance-of-payments crisis.

Pakistan on Tuesday cut its benchmark interest rate for the second time in a week, lowering it by 150 basis points to 11%, and announced a package of measures to support the economy and poorer workers hit by the pandemic.

The country has reported 1022 people infected by the virus, which has so far killed eight.

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