PAKISTAN is to receive a $9 billion bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund as the country has three weeks to stave off bankruptcy.
The IMF agreed in principle to a billion dollar economic stabilisation plan for Pakistan during a week-long meeting with Pakistani officials in Dubai, according to an official from the country's finance ministry.
Pakistan needs at least $4b to avoid defaulting on its foreign debts, as key allies including the United States, China and Saudi Arabia have all rebuffed government appeals for immediate funding.
The first disbursement of money from the IMF, which is likely to be for $3 billion to $4 billion, will only come after Pakistan has filed a formal request and the IMF has approved the aid.
Shaukat Tarin, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, told Daily Telegraph that the money was needed urgently as confidence levels in Pakistan's nosediving economy was 'fast deteriorating'.
Tarin said that first payment was needed in 20 days.
He added that the IMF should finalise the agreement by November 15 ahead of a fund raising conference to be held two days later by the Friends of Pakistan, a forum which includes the US, UK, China and Saudi Arabia, in Abu Dhabi.
He said that Pakistan's allies were "looking for an endorsement from the IMF" of the country's economic plan before they committed to offering more money.
Tarin added that with Pakistan facing repayment on million dollar debts due at the beginning of next year, he wanted to secure enough money to bolster Pakistan's rapidly depleting foreign reserves for '24 to 36 months to ahead'.
The IMF loan could be sufficient to cover Pakistan's balance of payments deficit for the next two years, said Tarin.
 

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 01-Nov-2008 here.