'US doesn't have powers to veto IMF decisions': Asad Umar dismisses Washington's statements

Updated October 13, 2018

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Finance Minister Asad Umar. — Online/File
Finance Minister Asad Umar. — Online/File

Finance Minister Asad Umar on Saturday dismissed US statements about reviewing Pakistan's debt position before evaluating Islamabad's request for a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Talking to reporters after returning from Indonesia, where he attended the annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF, Umar said the United States does not hold the power to veto decisions by the Fund.

The US is the largest contributor to the IMF and has 17.68 per cent of voting rights in major decisions. China is third, behind Japan, and controls 6.49pc of the vote.

The US had on Thursday said that it will examine closely Pakistan's request for an IMF loan, adding that “part of the reason that Pakistan found itself in this situation is Chinese debt”.

Read: US to review Chinese debt before decision on Pakistan’s loan request

Asked at a news briefing how Washington would deal with Pakistan’s request, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said: “In all cases, we examine that closely from all angles of it, including Pakistan’s debt position, in evaluating any type of loan programme”.

Umar defended the government's decision to approach IMF for a bailout, saying it was "inevitable". He said the country immediately needs $12 billion and the crisis could worsen if Pakistan does not opt for a loan programme.

He said efforts are underway to obtain foreign exchange from other sources as well.

"We are going [to the IMF] for the 19th time and we wish that it is the last time we do so," the minister said, announcing that an IMF delegation will reach Pakistan on November 7 for talks on the programme.

Umar reassured that the government will not accept any condition from the IMF that could harm Pakistan's national interest. "The decisions are to be taken by us, not the IMF," he added.

He said the country is having to go to the IMF once again due to the flawed economic policies of the previous government.

In response to a question, Umar said the recent depreciation in rupee's value was done by the central bank and that it was the policy of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government that the "State Bank should decide the exchange rate".

He said there was no truth to the reports that Pakistan had agreed to some "conditions" in exchange for help by Saudi Arabia, China and the United Arab Emirates.

Umar said talks are currently underway regarding oil supply on deferred payment from Saudi Arabia. A proposal to secure oil for three months on deferred payment is currently being considered, the minister revealed.