Pakistan, IMF in final round of talks on billion bailout

Pakistan, IMF in final round of talks on  billion bailout
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, right, speaks during a meeting with China's President Xi Jinping, unseen, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Sunday, April 28, 2019. (Madoka Ikegami/Pool Photo via AP)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund have launched the final round of talks over the billion bailout package for Islamabad, a deal that’s expected to be signed next month.

The round started on Monday in the Pakistani capital and is expected to last till May 7.

It comes as the IMF issued a report on Mideast and regional economies, saying that Pakistan’s economic growth is expected to slow from about 5% last year to close to 3% this year.

The U.S., which exerts major influence over IMF, has said it should not finance the billions of dollars in loans that Pakistan has taken from China as part of Beijing’s “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has promised to improve the country’s economy and provide more jobs.