The government has successfully managed to get the State Bank (Amendment) Bill 2021 cleared from the Upper House of Parliament — which was the last stumbling block in reviving the stalled International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan programme.
Following the clearance of the bill, all prior conditions of the IMF have now been fulfilled by Pakistan, including approval of the mini-budget and SBP bill.
The IMF’s Executive Board is now scheduled to consider Pakistan’s request for completion of the sixth Review and release of a $1 billion tranche under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) on February 2, 2022, in Washington DC.
Keeping in view the requests from Pakistan, the IMF had postponed its Executive Board meetings thrice this month.
The IMF board meeting was postponed last time from January 28 to February 2, 2022. The loan programme has been stalled since April 2021, hence, the sixth review will be completed after nine months.
Meanwhile, the next review (seventh) under the $6 billion EFF programme will be due in April 2022. The last and final eighth review is expected to be done in September 2022.
Despite objections raised by the parliamentarians as well as independent economists, the government passed the SBP Amendment Bill 2021 with the objective of targeting inflation and ignoring growth objectives, slapping a ban on borrowing of government, abolishing the Monetary and Fiscal Coordination Board, extending the tenure of governor SBP from three to five years with the possibility of one more extension of five years.