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Pakistan to get $3.4 billion in budgetary aid


ISLAMABAD, 15 JUNE. Pakistan will receive $3.4 billion in budgetary support from the Asian Development Bank (ABD), the de facto finance minister said on Saturday, as the government seeks help to overcome a ballooning balance of payments crisis.

Last month, Pakistan reached an accord in principle with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a three-year, $6 billion bailout package aimed at shoring up its fragile public finances and strengthening a slowing economy.

"The ADB will provide $3.4 billion in budgetary support," de facto Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh said on Twitter. "$2.2 billion will be released this fiscal year (FY), starting in the first quarter of FY 2019-20. This will help the reserve position and the external account."

The first disbursement is to "cover such policy reform areas as trade competitiveness, energy sector and capital markets development," Pakistan's Finance Ministry said in a statement.

Financial crises have shaken the world's sixth-largest nation repeatedly over the years, threatening the stability of a nuclear-armed state plagued by terrorism. Political analysts say that while the IMF programme may help stabilise the economy, it could bring more hardship due to austerity measures. Under the IMF's terms, Pakistan is also expected to let the rupee currency weaken to help correct an unsustainable current account deficit and cut its debt while trying to expand the tax base in a country where only 1% of people file returns.



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