Ishaq Dar takes oath as Pakistan’s new finance minister

Ishaq Dar takes oath as Pakistan’s new finance minister

The IMF board last month approved the seventh and eighth reviews of a bailout programme, allowing for a release of over $1.1 billion.

A seasoned politician and chartered accountant, Ishaq Dar on Wednesday took the oath as Pakistan's new finance minister, the prime minister's office said in a statement.

It is Dar's fourth stint as finance minister.

Dar was given the slot after his predecessor Miftah Ismail quit, the fifth holder of the job to go in less than four years during persistent economic turbulence.

Ahead of his formal appointment, the rupee had risen throughout the day after reports that he would take up the role, a change that comes in the midst of an economic crisis in Pakistan that has been exacerbated by deadly floods.

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"Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has asked me to accept the responsibilities of finance minister," Dar said in a statement broadcast on state television on Monday evening. "By the grace of God, I will try my best to get Pakistan out of this economic rut."

During a previous tenure ending in 2017, Dar said Pakistan was going to become the world's 18th strongest economy, but the South Asian country is facing economic turmoil, exacerbated by widespread floods estimated to have cost it nearly $30 billion.

Dar is taking office, for the fourth time, with the challenge of getting the economy out of one of its worst balance of payment crises that has seen foreign reserves falling to a month of imports.

The IMF board last month approved the seventh and eighth reviews of a bailout programme, allowing for a release of over $1.1 billion.

"Interest rate was lowest, the growth was highest, with the blessing of God, in decades, other macroeconomic indicators were excellent, reserves were highest, rupee was stable," Dar said on Monday of his 2013-17 tenure.

"So, we will be trying to get to that direction, that we stop the way the economy has been falling, and we change its direction."

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