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IMF urges Pakistan to act to stabilize economy

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The International Monetary Fund urged Pakistan's government to put more effort into stabilizing the country's struggling economy, after meetings between officials from both sides in Washington last week.

IMF Pakistan Mission Chief Jeffrey Franks said the lender had not received any official request for an aid program from Pakistan's top financial officials amid "fruitful discussions" during the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank last week.

"We have not received a formal request for a program from the authorities," Franks said in a statement.

Still, he added, "Pakistan faces difficult economic challenges and we urge the authorities to begin taking the necessary actions to stabilize the economy and lay the groundwork for future growth."

The troubled nuclear-armed state, heading for a general election on May 11, has seen its foreign exchange reserves dwindle and currency slide and has been expected to seek a fresh bailout package from the IMF.

The IMF set an $11.3 billion loan program for the country in November 2008, to stave off a balance of payments crisis.

But Pakistan abandoned the deal in 2011, refusing to carry out strict financial reforms required by the IMF.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130424/imf-urges-pakistan-act-stabilize-economy