- PML-N leader, tipped to become finance chief, says Pakistan will pursue reforms that result in macroeconomic stability
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Miftah Ismail, reportedly in line to become the country’s next finance chief, has said that the newly-established government remains committed to “continue close engagement” with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Dr Najy Benhassine, World Bank’s Country Director for Pakistan and IMF’s Resident Representative Dr Esther Perez Ruiz paid courtesy calls on me," tweeted Miftah.
“Pakistan will continue close engagement with these institutions and pursue reforms that result in macroeconomic stability,” he added.
Facing depleting foreign exchange reserves, Pakistan heavily relies on funding from international lenders to meet its balance-of-payments requirements. The programme with IMF is especially important as it keeps the door open for Pakistan to tap international markets for additional fund-raising as well.
Meanwhile, its foreign exchange reserves have been depleting fast. Reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) fell another $470 million on a weekly basis to reach a critical $10.85 billion, revealed central bank data on Thursday. This is the lowest reserve-level since June 2020.
Ismail is reported to be among the officials responsible for resuming talks with the IMF over the 7th review of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), where the previous government's relief package, which included reducing petrol and electricity prices, remains a key topic. On Friday, the new government also decided against increasing petroleum products' prices, which many see as a tricky topic in IMF engagement.
Earlier, Business Recorder reported that the government is keen on restarting the IMF programme to meet $30 billion financing needs in the next fiscal year.
This was stated by Ismail during a media talk on Tuesday flanked alongside Muhammad Zubair Umar and Musadik Malik, after they were directed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to place the economic statistics on record. He said in his opinion, the previous government’s relief package was inappropriate and may have to be revisited.