The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved loans worth $596 million to pull cash-strapped Pakistan back from the brink of default on its huge foreign debts.
Pakistan will immediately have access to $192 million, marking the resumption of IMF assistance after it was suspended almost two years ago when the ousted Nawaz Sharif government failed to reach its economic targets.
Sharif was ousted in a coup in October last year and the new military-led government under General Pervez Musharraf has pledged to rebuild the economy, which is staggering under some $38 billion in foreign debt.
Pakistan has foreign reserves of only about one billion dollars and an interest bill on its foreign debt amounting to some $6 billion next year.
IMF officials in Washington said the fund supported the Musharraf regime's "adjustment program," which includes a $4 billion privatization drive and a tough tax crackdown to reel in the massive black economy.— (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)