ISLAMABAD: China assured Pakistan on Wednesday that it is ready to help Islamabad in every possible way following its request for about $8.75 billion in an additional financial package, including the rollover of debt, bank deposits and currency swaps.
Chinese Ambassador in Islamabad Nong Rong called on Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday and “assured continuous support of the Chinese government to Pakistan”, the finance ministry said in a statement.
The “government of China stands with the people of Pakistan and is willing to provide all kinds of assistance”, the statement added.
Mr Dar told reporters last month that Pakistan had sought about $9bn in additional financial support from China during the visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Beijing, and that the Chinese leadership had promised to “roll over $4bn in sovereign loans, refinance $3.3bn commercial bank loans and increase currency swap by about $1.45bn — from 30bn yuan to 40bn yuan”. The total worked out at $8.75bn.
Pakistan needs at least $34bn until June 30, 2023, to meet its international liabilities, including debt and trade payments. Pakistan is banking on about $13bn in additional support from China and Saudi Arabia.
The statement said Mr Dar “thanked the Chinese ambassador for their continuous support and assistance” and praised the long-standing and deep-rooted friendly relations between the two countries.
Both sides deliberated on several avenues for expanding bilateral relations, especially in the economic and financial sectors. The ambassador appreciated the government’s policy initiatives to sustain and boost fiscal and monetary stability.
Mr Dar had earlier said that the Chinese president and prime minister had assured Prime Minister Sharif that his government would stand by Pakistan and “will not let you down”.
He had then separately taken up the issue of refinancing $3bn in China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) deposit and about $3.3bn debt rollover. Both these heads are due for maturity on different dates before June 30.
Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2022