Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Pakistan Gov’t to Complete IMF Terms Amid Dwindling Economy

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Arif Ahmadi
Arif Ahmadihttps://www.khaama.com/
Arif Ahmadi holds a B.A. degree in Journalism. He works as an Editor & Content Writer for Khaama Press.
FILE: Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: NDTV

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday expressed his government’s resolve to complete the terms of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) programme, according to sources, in a conversation with the lender’s managing director a day before.

Earlier, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says additional measures will be needed to bring Pakistan’s budget for fiscal year 2022-23 in line with the key objectives, after the country unveiled $47 billion budget for the year.

“In a phone call with Managing Director [Kristalina Georgieva] of the IMF yesterday, I told her about the government’s resolve to complete the terms of IMF’s program,” PM Shehbaz said on Twitter.

“I also explained Pakistan’s economic difficulties especially after the devastating floods. IMF delegation will come to Pakistan soon.”

The premier’s statement comes a day after he said an IMF delegation would come to Pakistan in “two to three days” to finalise the ninth review of Pakistan’s $7bn Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

Pakistan entered a $6 billion IMF programme in 2019, which was increased to $7bn last year. The programme’s ninth review, which would release $1.18bn, is currently pending, as Dwan wrote.

It had earlier been put off for two months due to the PML-N-led government’s unwillingness to accept certain conditions placed before it by the Fund, and the disagreements have yet to be resolved.

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In June 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says additional measures will be needed to bring Pakistan’s budget for fiscal year 2022-23 in line with the key objectives, according to source, after the country unveiled $47 billion budget for the year.

“Our preliminary estimate is that additional measures will be needed to strengthen the budget and bring it in line with key program objectives,” Esther Perez Ruiz, IMF’s Resident Representative to Pakistan, told Reuters.

Pakistan’s Finance Minister said on Saturday that the IMF had expressed concerns about the budget numbers, including fuel subsidies, a widening current account deficit, and the need to raise more direct taxes, according to Business Recorder.

However, he added his government was confident they could adjust the budget to bring the IMF on board and was hopeful of securing a successful review this month.

“Discussions with the authorities continue to obtain more clarity on certain revenue and spending items and allow for a full assessment,” Ruiz said, as the Recorder quoted.

Pakistan is halfway through a $6 billion, 39-month IMF programme that has stalled over the lender’s concerns over the status of some of its objectives, including fiscal consolidation.

The next tranche that Pakistan is to receive upon a successful review is $900 million, and a green light from the IMF would also open up other global funding avenues.

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