- Government has shared fiscal data, including flood and related expenditures, with the IMF
- IMF Resident Representative says as part of the 9th review under the EFF, remote discussions continue between IMF staff and the Pakistani authorities
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have begun virtual engagement for ninth review of a $7 billion loan programme, the Finance Ministry said on Monday, after a local media report that the Fund has asked the country to cut expenses.
The government has shared fiscal data, including flood and related expenditures, with the IMF and a team from the Fund is expected to visit Islamabad soon, the ministry added.
In a separate message to Business Recorder, IMF Resident Representative in Pakistan Esther Pérez Ruiz also confirmed the development.
"As part of the 9th review under the EFF, remote discussions continue between IMF staff and the Pakistani authorities over policies to reprioritise and better target support toward humanitarian and rehabilitation needs, while also accelerating reform efforts to preserve macroeconomic and fiscal sustainability, including with continuing financial support from multilateral and bilateral partners," Ruiz told Business Recorder.
Earlier, the IMF had said that Pakistan's timely finalisation of a recovery plan from devastating floods was essential to support discussions and continued financial support from multilateral and bilateral partners.
"The timely finalisation of the recovery plan is essential to support the discussions, along with continuing financial support from multilateral and bilateral partners," IMF resident representative Esther Perez Ruiz said in a message then.
She added that the IMF staff is continuing discussions with Pakistani authorities over policies to reprioritise and better target support toward humanitarian needs, while accelerating reform efforts to preserve economic and fiscal sustainability.
Official sources revealed that some policy slippages on the government's part have delayed the finalisation of a date for the start of formal negotiations on the 9th review.
Earlier, well-placed sources in the Finance Division had told Business Recorder that talks on the ninth review were expected in the last week of the current month.
On November 17, Finance Ministry stated that Pakistan and IMF will "expeditiously" finish their technical engagement as part of the ninth review of Pakistan's bailout programme.
Pakistani finance minister Ishaq Dar held a virtual meeting with the IMF Mission Chief for Pakistan, Nathan Porter.
"Engagement at the technical level shall be expeditiously concluded for proceeding with the 9th Review," a finance ministry statement had said then.
Pakistan is in need of funds to shore up its struggling economy, exacerbated by devastating floods that wiped out much of the country's agriculture and infrastructure in recent months.
The IMF board in August approved the seventh and eighth reviews of Pakistan's bailout programme, allowing for a release of over $1.1 billion.