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Finance Minister Dar Expected To Meet For Delegation With IMF on sidelines of Geneva conference

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation is expected to meet with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on the sidelines of the Geneva conference on Monday (January 9), .

“The (IMF) Managing Director (Kristalina Georgieva) had a constructive call with Prime Minister (Shehbaz) Sharif in the context of the International Conference on Resilient Pakistan to be held in Geneva on Monday, January 9,” the IMF spokesperson stated via message on Sunday morning.

“The MD again expressed her sympathy to those directly affected by the floods and supported Pakistan’s efforts to build a more resilient recovery.

“The IMF delegation is expected to meet with Finance Minister Dar on the sidelines of the Geneva conference to discuss outstanding issues and the path forward.”

The ‘International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan’, co-hosted by the Pakistan government and United Nations (UN), will take place at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, with an aim to explore ways to build the country’s long-term climate resilience and adaptation, including the articulation of provincial perspectives. At the conference, Pakistan is due to present a 10-year programme before the international community.

The conference comes after Pakistan suffered heavy losses last year due to massive floods that left one third of the country submerged, about 15,000 dead or injured and 8 million displaced.

An estimated 9 million more people could be forced into poverty as a direct consequence of these floods, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The country has also prepared a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), which estimates flood damages to exceed $14.9 billion.

The aftermath of floods added to the economic distress in Pakistan, which was already part of an IMF bailout programme amid acute shortage in its official foreign exchange reserves.

While the IMF Executive Board completed the combined seventh and eighth reviews of the Extended Arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Pakistan at the end of August, the programme has moved at a slower pace since then.

This sluggish progress comes at a time of fast-depleting foreign exchange reserves, which clocked in at a meagre $5.6 billion last week, and are set to fall further after sources in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) confirmed that the country paid back $600 million to the Emirates NBD Bank, and $420 million to the Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) on Friday.

Delay in the IMF programme has been reportedly attributed to unwillingness on part of Pakistan authorities to implement some prior conditions that feature topics of a flexible exchange rate, power sector’s losses, and mobilising additional tax revenues.

However, PM Shehbaz on Friday said Pakistan remained committed to completing the IMF programme, adding that he had a constructive conversation with Georgieva and invited her to attend the Geneva conference,

Georgieva, who also chairs the IMF Executive Board, said she would be able to join the conference virtually as board meetings had been prefixed for January 9 -10,