Im­ran warns of ‘painful’ re­forms af­ter IMF talks

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES GLOBAL -

Dubai: Pak­istan’s Prime Min­is­ter Im­ran Khan said on Sun­day his na­tion needed “painful” eco­nomic re­forms to cut back on its mas­sive debt, just af­ter meet­ing the head of the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, sig­nal­ing the former crick­eter may be will­ing to slash gov­ern­ment spend­ing for a bailout.

Khan made the com­ments at the World Gov­ern­ment Sum­mit in Dubai, which also saw Le­banese PM Saad Hariri make his own in­vest­ment pitch for his small coun­try, now strug­gling through a major eco­nomic cri­sis as one of the world’s most-in­debted na­tions. Khan made a point in an ad­dress to re­peat­edly hit on the need for eco­nomic re­forms as IMF chief Chris­tine La­garde looked on from the au­di­ence.

“I re­peat the re­forms are painful. It’s like a surgery. When you con­duct surgery for a while the pa­tient suf­fers but that im­proves,” the prime min­is­ter said. “The worst thing that can hap­pen for so­ci­ety is that you keep post­pon­ing re­forms be­cause of the fear that you would have op­po­si­tion, the vested in­ter­ests stand up and you don’t do re­forms.’

That Khan is in the Gulf is not sur­pris­ing, as he’s gone to Saudi Ara­bia and the UAE for fi­nan­cial sup­port.

Be­fore tak­ing the stage, Khan met with La­garde. Pak­istan has been seek­ing an $8 bil­lion bailout from the IMF. Pak­istan has around $100 bil­lion in ex­ter­nal debts and li­a­bil­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to the State Bank of Pak­istan.

A state­ment from La­garde called the meet­ing “good and con­struc­tive”.

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