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Pakistan to quit IMF poverty plan

Islamabad, Oct. 4 (PTI): Pakistan today said it plans to quit IMF's poverty reduction and growth facility programme by the end of this year as its economic situation has improved.

'Pakistan's economic scene and prospects have undergone a sea change in the last five years. The stage is also set for Pakistan to exit from the IMF programme at the end of this year,' Salman Shah, adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister on finance and economic affairs, was quoted as saying during the IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington DC.

The programme is extended to some of the poorest countries by the IMF and World Bank and carries a lot of conditions for restructuring and management of the economy.

'Exchange rates and foreign exchange reserves, inflation and interest rates, fiscal and current accounts.... All point to stable and improving macroeconomic performance,' he said.

External debt has been reduced from $38 billion to $36 billion, which appreciably declined as a proportion of GDP, thanks to lower interest rates, debt re-profiling and prepayment of some expensive debt, he said.

Several countries including the US, Japan and UK have also written off large portions of Pakistan's bilateral debt. 'We are targeting a growth rate of 8 per cent in the medium term. Implementation of wide ranging structural, institutional and governance reforms, which were beginning to show results,' Shah added.

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