Pakistani Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq

Islamabad: Pakistani Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has directed the State Bank of Pakistan to repay a loan of $500 million to the Chinese State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), upon its maturity on January 23, the Finance Ministry said.

"The loan in the form of a deposit was taken in January 2009, due to the weak current account situation at that time and placed with the State Bank of Pakistan. Since then the deposit was rolled over annually, with the latest maturity date set at 23rd January, 2017," Xinhua news agency cited a statement by the ministry on Tuesday.

"Instead of yet another roll over for a year, it has been decided to repay the loan, in view of the strong macroeconomic performance and stable foreign exchange reserves position of the country," it said.

The Finance Minister has already obtained approval of the Prime Minister for the repayment of the said loan and has directed the State Bank of Pakistan to make payment of 500 million US dollars to SAFE China on January 23.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has formally expressed his deep appreciation to his Chinese counterpart and Government of China for the critical support provided through the SAFE deposit for stabilizing the current account since 2009, the statement said.