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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 20 August, 2002, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
IMF praises Pakistan's resilience
General Pervez Musharraf
General Musharraf's economic reforms have been applauded
The Pakistan economy has won praise from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after having successfully negotiated a tricky year.

The country has had to cope with the conflict in Afghanistan, and the military stand-off with India earlier this year.

But the IMF said Pakistan's economy was in good shape, with rising economic growth, low inflation and debt levels becoming more manageable.

"In the last 18 months, given what has occurred in terms of sanctions, in terms of Afghanistan... virtually every other country would have collapsed," said the IMF's Paul Chabrier at the end of a visit to review the economy.

"Pakistan has not collapsed."

The IMF approved a $1.31bn loan to Pakistan last December to help offset the impact of the conflict in Afghanistan.

More of the same needed

The fund added that any future government should pursue the economic policies put in place by the country's military leadership.

Since assuming power in 1999, Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf has followed a programme of economic reform.

This has included privatisation, overhauling the taxation system, restructuring the public enterprise and banking sectors, and cracking down on corruption.

The IMF said these policies should be pursued after the 10 October elections.

"The efficient running of an economy should take this experience of the last three years," said Mr Chabrier.

No more loans?

In June, Pakistan said its economy had grown by 3.6% over the year, compared with growth of 2.5% in the previous 12 months.

Pakistani Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz said that economic indicators for July - the first month of the financial year - showed the economy had made a reasonable start to 2002.

He also said that two banks - UBL and Habib - were due to be privatised in October.

Mr Aziz added that if the economy continued to improve, Pakistan would no longer need a further IMF loan when the current programme ended.

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 ON THIS STORY
Muddassar Malik, BMA Capital
"Ultimately what we need to see is output growth and employment creation"
See also:

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