Can Pakistan pay back IMF debt?

TALKS between Pakistan and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are nothing new but negotiations scheduled to begin from September 25 are quite different in the sense that it would be,perhaps, for the first time that the two would be discussing the ability of the country to pay back the IMF debt. This is something serious as this dimension of talks has political and economic implications for Pakistan.

There is no doubt that Pakistan is facing financial challenge because of unending war on terror, security and law & order situation thus created and consequential loss of investment and economic activities. Its problems increase when the United States uses even reimbursement as a tool to pressurize the country that is playing the role of frontline state in the US-imposed war against terror. However, despite all these odds, Pakistan has so far managed to pay back all due instalments to the IMF and there is no reason to doubt its ability to do so in future. Remittances by overseas Pakistanis are on the rise, which means the country can spare money to pay back loan on time and this ability would increase further if unbridled imports are checked and steps are taken to overcome energy crisis. The European Union decision to clear the way for duty concessions for 72 Pakistani textile products would further ease the situation. But the talks scheduled for September 25 should be a source of serious concern to our policy-makers because of ever-mounting debt burden. Discussions about Pakistan’s ability to pay back would create doubts in the minds of donors and investors and this could mean loss of image and reputation. All this is not commensurate with the status of the country, which is a nuclear power, strategically located and above all with a hard-working manpower.

Source: Pakistan Observer

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