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IMF’s Christine Lagarde says ‘Pakistan out of economic crisis’

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ISLAMABAD: Managing Director (MD) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde, who is in the capital on her first official visit, said Pakistan was ‘out of an economic crisis’ during a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday.

“Pakistan is now in a better fiscal position and certainly out of economic crisis,” she said, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Lagarde also congratulated the premier on successfully completing the IMF programme, the statement added.

“It is a fantastic step in your journey that you have achieved a better and solid economic position in a brief period of two years,” she told PM Nawaz.

Lagarde acknowledged the government for steering the country out of numerous challenges while achieving macroeconomic stability at the same time.

She said Pakistan’s fiscal deficit had reduced and inflation declined in the recent years, the PM House statement said.

IMF’s Lagarde also, the statement said, appreciated Pakistan’s strengthened social safety nets and tax policy and administration reforms.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also lauded IMF’s support for helping Pakistan get close to achieving an economic recovery and macroeconomic stability.

“We are successfully delivering on the major challenges of terrorism, economy and power shortages that we inherited from the previous governments’, the Prime Minister said.

He added that “We have dismantled the terrorists’ networks and even presently 200,000 troops are deployed in the northern areas to completely eliminate the menace of terrorism from the country,” he said.

The prime minister told the IMF Chief that Pakistan lost over 24,000 precious human lives with a loss of $100 billion in the war against terrorism.

On Pakistan relations with Afghanistan, he emphasised that Islamabad was sincere in bringing stability in the war-hit region and added, “Peace and stability and Afghanistan would ensure peace in Pakistan and the region as well.”

The premier also outlined Pakistan’s future projects to address energy shortfall at the earliest and improving the country’s infrastructure and communication networks.

“We want to further reduce our expenditures, increase our exports and lower down the cost of production for our industrial and agriculture sectors,” PM Nawaz said.

He also mentioned that with the help of various new power projects, his government was aiming to eliminate load-shedding by 2018 from Pakistan.

“We are also committed to providing social protection to the poor and vulnerable people of our society for which our government has increased the budgetary allocation to BISP from Rs 40 to Rs 120 billion in the last three years. The poor families covered under this programme have been increased from 3 million to 5.6 million families,” the Prime Minister said.

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