Confirmation from friendly states likely in a few days: minister


ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday said Pakistan is likely to get confirmation from the friendly countries of economic assistance in a few days being the last condition of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which will be followed by the staff-level deal with the Fund.

“We have fulfilled almost all conditions, which the previous government had agreed upon with the IMF and currently, the Fund is demanding confirmation from the friendly countries that are providing assistance to Pakistan. We are hopeful that the confirmation will be received in the coming few days and after that, the IMF deal will come on track,” Iqbal said, while talking to journalists after addressing the US-Pakistan Diaspora and Private Sector for Flood Recovery and Rehabilitation Conference.

In the conference, organised by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), three MoUs were signed with a Pakistan-based US company and the US-Pakistani diaspora entities, mobilising $78 million.

To a question about the reported objection raised by the IMF over the fuel subsidy announced by the government to the poor segment of society, Ahsan Iqbal said that this is an internal adjustment within the fuel price and there is nothing new subsidy being announced. “We hope that the IMF will have no objection to the government move,” he hoped.

In his address to the conference, the minister urged the US-Pakistan Diaspora to come forward in supporting the government efforts for recovery and rehabilitation of the millions of flood-affected people.

While appreciating the United States’ pledges of $200 million for the flood-affected people, he pointed out that Pakistan needs much more for the complete rehabilitation of millions of floods’ affected people and hoped that the international community will understand the difficulties Pakistan is being faced in rehabilitation of the vast affected population.

In his remarks, United States Ambassador Donald Blome highlighted the valuable contributions of the US-Pakistani diaspora and the private sector at the conference aimed at building back better for flood-affected communities in Pakistan.

He said that the US government has pledged more than $200 million to date to support flood relief and recovery efforts, disaster resilience, and food security, while the US-Pakistani diaspora has contributed about $42 million.

Ambassador Blome emphasized the longstanding US-Pakistan partnership to advance Pakistan’s economic growth and social and humanitarian causes. He highlighted the need for strengthening climate resilience through the US-Pakistan “Green Alliance” framework and expressed the United States’ commitment to helping the US-Pakistani diaspora and Pakistan-based private companies find opportunities to strengthen climate resilience, pursue energy transformation, and foster economic growth and development outcomes.

The conference continued the momentum built at the December 20, 2022, and January 25 conferences in Islamabad where USAID signed a combined six memoranda of understanding (MOUs) mobilising $75 million.

The discussions held in those conferences led to mobilizing additional contributions and investments to help populations and areas affected by floods.

In the conference on Building Back Better, USAID signed three MoUs with a Pakistan-based US company and US-Pakistani diaspora entities, mobilizing $78 million. More than 200 participants attended the conference, including members of the US-Pakistani diaspora, prominent local business leaders, US business representatives, and Pakistani officials.

They discussed ways to help the flood-affected population and communities at the building Back Better Conference.

“The United States remains firmly committed to engaging and partnering with the US-Pakistani diaspora and the private sector to address Pakistan’s challenges in the technology, humanitarian, social, and commercial sectors, and to further Pakistan’s development goals,” Ambassador Blome added.