China rolls over another $600m loan to Pakistan: PM Shehbaz

Published July 18, 2023
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif speaking at the launch of the Prime Minister’s Youth Sports Initiative in Islamabad on Tuesday.—Radio Pakistan
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif speaking at the launch of the Prime Minister’s Youth Sports Initiative in Islamabad on Tuesday.—Radio Pakistan

China has rolled over a $600 million loan to Pakistan, helping shore up the country’s foreign exchange reserves on the back of an IMF deal, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Tuesday.

This was in addition to over $5 billion in loans that longtime ally China has rolled over for Pakistan in the last three months, the prime minister said last week, helping Pakistan avert a default as negotiations to secure the IMF bailout dragged on.

Pakistan secured a last-gasp $3bn IMF bailout on June 30, which later disbursed an initial upfront instalment of about $1.2 bn.

A further $2 bn of financial support from Saudi Arabia and $1bn from the UAE after the IMF pact has helped steady the economy, according to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The State Bank of Pakistan said the current account recorded a surplus of $334 million in June.

In a tweet, Dar shared some figures of the current account and said “that’s how Pakistan didn’t default”.

Launching the Prime Minister’s Youth Sports Initiative in Islamabad today, the prime minister said the Exim Bank of China provided the roll over, increasing the country’s foreign exchange reserves by $600m.

“Our foreign exchange reserves are increasing but we want to do it not through loans but generating our income,” he was quoted as saying by Radio Pakistan.

“It is possible as our youth has the potential to excel and take the country forward in the fields of sports, information technology, industries and agriculture.”

Paying tribute to athletes for bringing glory to Pakistan through their performances, the prime minister said that Rs5bn had been allocated in the budget to promote sports.

He also said if provided with the opportunity after the elections, his party would provide more resources for education, skills development and the promotion of sports.

According to Radio Pakistan, the Prime Minister’s Youth Sports Initiative encompasses the establishment of the Sports Endowment Fund, the country’s first sports university in Islamabad, the Elite Sportsperson Development Program and measures for the promotion of traditional as well as e-sports.

In his remarks on the occasion, Minister for Interprovincial Coordination Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari said a number of initiatives had been taken over the last 15 months to further strengthen sports infrastructure in the country.

He said a sports policy had also been prepared to promote various sports, adding that structural reforms had also been introduced “to enable our youth better compete at international events”.

PM reiterates call for charter of economy

Later, the PM reiterated that the nation needed to unite on a charter of economy to ensure the consistency of economic policies and put the country on the path of progress and prosperity.

In the recent past, the idea of a charter of economy was floated by the incumbent dispensation in Islamabad, notably PM Shehbaz, before the last year’s budget and not too long after its ascension to power following the ouster of former premier Imran Khan through a no-confidence vote in April.

The idea focuses on all stakeholders collaborating on formulating a framework for improving the economy.

The premier reiterated the call while addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of Islamabad Model Special Economic Zone today.

“Now we will have to get rid of loans and attract investment. This is what the model special economic zone is for — to attract investment from China, the UAE, Qatar and others to bring Pakistan at par with the neighbouring nations,” he added, in relevance to the Islamabad project.


Additional input from APP

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