Pakistan’s borrowing record with the IMF is pretty extraordinary


Did you know Pakistan has secured 21 loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since it became a member?

Me neither. I knew Pakistan had returned again and again to the IMF over the decades but 21 loans! That’s a lot in 69 years. (The IMF gives Pakistan’s effective date of membership as July 11, 1950. It got its first loan in 1958.)

Anyway, Pakistan’s record of borrowing from the IMF is the same as Argentina.

Now, it seems it’s looking for its 22nd loan. On Wednesday, March 27, the IMF’s mission chief for Pakistan, Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, completed a trip to the country to discuss a new programme for it.

Though Pakistan’s new prime minister, Imran Khan, has sought to borrow from elsewhere – and did in fact manage billions in loans and deferred oil payments from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – the IMF does seem to be convenient. If not the lender of last resort, it is perhaps the one more likely than not to be reliable. Reliable but demanding.