In all her recent public appearances, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has reiterated the same message: Pakistan is out of crisis and a “moment of opportunity” presents itself. But policymakers must seize this moment and carry forward with the reforms needed to ensure that the hard-fought macroeconomic stability of today translates into prosperity tomorrow. In a wide-ranging interview with Dawn, Lagarde spelled out her vision for a post-programme Pakistan in more detail, from continuing with the reforms, to how the Fund is viewing the growing cooperation between China and Pakistan under the corridor projects.
She calls for doubling public outlays on health and education and more efforts to make growth inclusive, particularly in expanding opportunities for women. The power sector is cited as an example of successful reform under the programme, but also identified as an area needing more “in depth” and “strong” reforms in the future. CPEC projects, she says, need to be “efficient” and “transparent” for their benefits to flow.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar claimed this is the first IMF programme that Pakistan has completed and the MD, sitting next to him during the press conference where this claim was repeated, agreed. Prior to the interview, it was pointed out to her that this claim is untrue. A few other details she mentions are of doubtful merit, such as her claim that the present IMF programme was “endorsed by an electoral vote back in 2014”.