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IMF cites progress in talks on Pakistan bailout

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund have made “significant progress” toward agreeing on an $8 billion bailout package, the Fund said Tuesday following a week of talks in Islamabad.

“There has been broad agreement on the need for a comprehensive agenda of reforms and policy actions aimed at reducing the fiscal and current account deficits, bolstering international reserves, strengthening social protection, enhancing governance and transparency, and laying the foundations for a sustainable job-creating growth path,” it said.

Pakistan’s Finance Ministry said there had been “substantive progress” and that the two sides will hold more talks in the coming weeks.

Pakistani authorities had earlier acknowledged that the two sides are at odds over electricity rate hikes, interest rate hikes and tax collection targets, and said the IMF is looking for more than Pakistan’s new government feels it can manage.

Pakistan has been approaching the IMF since the 1980s, and received a $6.7 billion loan in 2013.

It’s also seeking fresh loans from China, which has already invested heavily in transport and energy, as well as Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries.

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