WASHINGTON: International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Thursday lauded Pakistan government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan efforts to address economic challenges. In a statement issued to media, the IMF Managing Director said that the authorities in Pakistan have continued their reform efforts to address Pakistan’s economic challenges, but progress is being threatened by the devastating effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and the deterioration in global economic and financial conditions. She said that PM Khan and his government have swiftly approved an economic stimulus package aimed at containing the spread of the virus and providing support to affected families and businesses. Similarly, the State Bank of Pakistan has adopted a timely set of measures, including a lowering of the policy rate, new refinancing facilities to support the flow of credit, and temporary regulatory relief measures. Kristalina Georgieva further said that to support these efforts and ensure prompt and adequate relief to the people and the economy, Pakistan government has requested financial assistance under the Fund’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI). “This emergency financing will allow the government to address additional and urgent balance of payments needs and support policies that would make it possible to direct funds swiftly to Pakistan’s most affected sectors, including social protection, daily wage earners, and the healthcare system,” she said and added our team is working expeditiously to respond to this request so that a proposal can be considered by the IMF’s Executive Board as soon as possible. The IMF chief said: “In parallel, the authorities have reaffirmed their commitment to the reform policies included in the current arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). These reforms are crucial to boost Pakistan’s growth potential to deliver broad based benefits for all Pakistanis, especially the most vulnerable segments of the population.” “The Fund stands ready to continue to support the authorities’ efforts to implement much-needed economic and structural reforms aimed at fostering strong and sustainable growth,” she added.