ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have reportedly agreed, in principle, to extend the pending $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme by one year and increase the loan size to $8 billion.
According to media reports that surfaced late night on Sunday, the understanding was reached between the IMF and Finance Minister Miftah Ismail during talks in Washington on 7th review. However, no confirmation was received from Finance Ministry and the IMF till the filing of this report.
TAHIR AMIN adds from Islamabad: Pakistan has requested the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to extend the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement through June 2023.
The IMF expects to field a mission to Pakistan in May to resume discussions over policies for completing the 7th EFF review.
Nathan Porter, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission Chief for Pakistan, issued the following statement:
“We had very productive meetings with the Finance Minister of Pakistan Miftah Ismail over Pakistan’s economic developments and policies under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program. We agreed that prompt action is needed to reverse the unfunded subsidies which have slowed discussions for the 7th review. 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 program objectives.”
Finance Division also issued a statement which is as given, “The Pakistan delegation held several meetings with the IMF officials, including Deputy Managing Director Ms Antoinette Sayeh, Jihad Azour, Director MCD, and Nathan Porter, Mission Chief. The delegation discussed pathways to complete seventh review. Miftah Ismail, Finance Minister, laid out his government’s priorities and efforts to bring fiscal discipline while insulating the vulnerable from oil price volatility in the international markets.
The IMF expressed support to the Pakistan delegation. An IMF mission lead by Mission Chief Nathan Porter will visit Pakistan in May to discuss the issues around subsidies on petrol and electricity announced by the out going government.
The delegation also met Axel von Trotsenburg, Managing Director, Hartwig Schafer, Vice President and other officials of the World Bank. Progress of on-going program loans and projects as well as avenues for further assistance were discussed. Finance Minister thanked the Bank officials for the financial and technical support provided by the Bank throughout. MD Operations also assured full support for Pakistan. The delegation also met Vice President IFC, Vice President MIGA and Executive Directors of the IMF”.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022