ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has indicated that he would approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a second relief package to help the cash-strapped government reach the needy people amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a media report.
Dawn newspaper reported that Khan’s remarks came during his address at the launch of the United Nations Development Programme’s Pakistan National Human Development Report on Inequality on Tuesday. “We are going to speak to the IMF because we see disruptions ahead just when our economy is recovering and all the indicators are positive,” the paper quoted Khan as saying.
About funds allocated for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, Khan said Pakistan having a population of 220 million distributed USD 8 billion among people during the pandemic while the US with a population of 330 million provided around USD 4 trillion to the COVID-hit population. “So I think, this is time for a second package and we will talk to the IMF,” the prime minister said.
Earlier, Pakistan had secured a USD 6 billion loan from the IMF in 2019. Khan said the IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva, too, realized the gravity of the situation, as certain conditions could not be imposed on the people amid the pandemic.
Speaking on inequality, Khan said laundering of money from poor states to tax havens and rich countries was widening the gap between rich and poor states even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of families across Pakistan face economic hardship, particularly those working in the informal sector, who have no savings or are not covered by existing social safety net programmes.
The country has been in dire need of funds after its economy contracted after being hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Pakistan has reported over 700,000 COVID-19 cases with more than 15,000 deaths.