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IMF Mission Expected To Visit Islamabad In May After Miftah Holds ‘Productive Meetings’

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects to field a mission to Pakistan in May to resume discussions over policies for completing the 7th review of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), said a statement issued by the lender late on Sunday night.

It said it held “very productive meetings” with Finance Minister Miftah Ismail over Pakistan’s economic developments and policies under the EFF programme.

The authorities have also requested the IMF to extend the EFF arrangement through June 2023 as a signal of their commitment to address existing challenges and achieve the programme objectives: IMF Mission Chief for Pakistan Nathan Porter

“We agreed that prompt action is needed to reverse the unfunded subsidies which have slowed discussions for the 7th review,” said Nathan Porter, the IMF Mission Chief for Pakistan, in his statement, referring to the fuel subsidy that has kept petrol rates frozen in the country since March.

“Based on the constructive discussions with the authorities in Washington, the IMF expects to field a mission to Pakistan in May to resume discussions over policies for completing the 7th EFF review.

“The authorities have also requested the IMF to extend the EFF arrangement through June 2023 as a signal of their commitment to address existing challenges and achieve the programme objectives.”

IMF Spokesperson Gerry Rice also tweeted that a good meeting took place between Deputy Managing Director Antoinette Sayeh and Ismail about policies needed to continue the EFF.

“A mission is expected to visit Islamabad in May to continue the discussions,” said Rice.

Prior to his travel to Washington, Ismail had said that the IMF has sought completion of five actions for revival of the EFF.

Ismail during a briefing to a select group of media persons along with State Minister for Finance, Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Secretary Finance and others, said his priority would be to ensure release of the $1-billion tranche. He disclosed that the IMF has sought increase in the prices of petroleum products as well as taxes and levy, withdrawal of industrial amnesty scheme, reducing circular debt, increasing electricity tariffs, and fiscal saving from the present government for revival of the programme.

The IMF programme is seen as crucial for Pakistan’s economy that has seen its central-bank-held foreign exchange reserves reach a critical level of $10.89 billion.

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