IMF exploring all options to help flood-hit Pakistan

WASHINGTON, Aug 26 (APP): The International Monetary Fund is looking at all possible ways to help Pakistan deal with economic impact of the devastating floods, a Fund spokesman said Thursday.  “All options are on the table and being discussed,” Gerry Rice, Deputy Director of External Relations at the global financial institution said.“The bottom line is for the fund to be able to do as much as we can to help Pakistan at this time by whatever means,” he said.

Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh is leading Pakistan’s discussions with the top IMF officials this week on easing economic strains as the natural disaster has badly hurt the agricultural growth prospects and damaged vast infrastructure in flood zone in almost one fifth (around 150,000 sq jn) of the country’s land.  The World Bank and Asian Development Bank are carrying out assessment of the damages by the worst natural disaster to hit Pakistan and are expected to complete their report by October.Rice told reporters it is clear that conditions under Pakistan’s current $11.3 billion financing arrangement with the IMF will have to be adjusted.  The IMF is determining the impact on growth, budget and inflation projections under the current program, which expires at the end of the year – APP