IMF-s-preconditions-for-loan-program-introduction-of-Finance-bill-approval-of-SBP-bill-The-Correspondent

Pakistan on Friday approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for revival and completion of its Extended Fund Facility (EFF) along with disbursement of outstanding $3 billion to counter fast depleting foreign exchange reserves amid widening fiscal and current account deficits.

Prime Minister’s finance adviser (in-waiting) Miftah Ismail on Friday had an initial engagement with IMF’s Resident Representative in Islamabad Esther Perez Ruiz to touch base with the fund on the way forward on the three-year programme that got suspended thrice and remained off-track most of the time. Secretary Finance Hamed Yaqoob Shaikh also had a virtual contact with the new IMF mission chief to Pakistan Nathan Porter on Thursday night.

Insiders said Miftah and Secretary Shaikh are now scheduled to open formal dialogue with IMF mission chief Porter in Washington on April 18 on how to revive the programme and agree on further steps that could be made part of the upcoming federal budget 2022-23 in June.

Informed sources said Mr Miftah informed Ms Ruiz of the decision of the new government to engage with the fund on measures to take the existing programme forward. These sources said the IMF side — both in Islamabad and Washington — welcomed the initiative and promised to work out measures for financial and economic stability and move towards building buffers.

The fund officials suggested the authorities to prepare their side of the homework including corrective measures that could stop the bleeding that particularly started after the last-month relief-cum-amnesty package with financial implications of more than Rs300bn. These would then be taken up on Monday for discussions. Ms Ruiz could not be reached for comments.

The sources said Mr Miftah also had another meeting with World Bank’s country director in Islamabad Najy Benhassine on Thursday night and discussed its lending pipeline including concessionary financing under the International Development Assistance (IDA) for the next financial year as well.

Mr Miftah had last week blamed the PTI government for creating an unprecedented economic mess, particularly leaving behind domestic and external financial accounts in a precarious position.

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