The US State Department has urged Pakistan to work with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on business reforms to improve its investment prospects.
During a regular press briefing in Washington, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said these measures would make Pakistani business more competitive, attract high-quality investment, and put Pakistan on a path to sustainable growth.
“We are working with our Pakistani partners. Of course, Pakistan in turn is also working with an international financial institution, the IMF, to put itself on a sustainable growth path. But when it comes to economic challenges, security challenges, and political challenges, the United States is ready and able to continue to be a partner to the people of Pakistan and to our Pakistani counterparts as well.”
Ultimately it’s going to have to be decisions on the part of Pakistani counterparts to unlock this IMF funding, he added.
Further, he said, “We encourage Pakistan to continue working with the IMF, especially on reforms that will improve Pakistan’s business environment. We believe that doing so – and the IMF believes this – will make Pakistani business more competitive, and will also help Pakistan attract high-quality investment.”
But more valuable than the potential investment dollars are the technologies, market connections, and management systems that accompany foreign investment, Ned Price asserted.
The IMF has demanded that Pakistan implement measures to complete its $7bn Extended Fund Facility program.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said a staff-level agreement is “about to conclude,” but the IMF has required Pakistan to guarantee that its balance of payments deficit is fully financed for the remaining period of the program.
Price said the US was ready to continue its economic partnership with Pakistan, and technologies, market connections, and management systems that come with the IMF deal were of more value than potential investment dollars.
He called for Pakistani counterparts to make necessary economic decisions.