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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have started virtual discussions for the ninth review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme.

This was confirmed by Esther Perez Ruiz IMF country representative in Pakistan while replying to Business Recorder.

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.

Pakistan has been reeling from the impact of devastating floods earlier this year that killed more than 1,700 people, destroyed farmland and infrastructure, and worsened an economic crisis marked by decades-high inflation and dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

“The IMF understands that the floods have changed the macroeconomic assumptions on which the program was designed,” the ministry said.

“Detailed analysis is being conducted by their team using the data provided.”

Pakistan reserves stood at $7.8 billion as of Nov. 18, barely enough to cover imports for a month.

Flood recovery plan critical to supporting discussions: IMF

The Pakistan Stock Exchange fell around 2% on Monday, on its first day of trading after the central bank unexpectedly hiked its key policy rate to 16% last week.

ARY News, a local broadcaster, reported earlier on Monday that the IMF asked Pakistan to reduce expenses before talks on the ninth review. Pakistan secured a $6 billion bailout in 2019 that was topped up with another $1 billion earlier this year.

The IMF’s board approved the seventh and eight reviews in August, allowing the release of more than $1.1 billion to Pakistan.

The ninth review has been pending since September. The lender told Reuters last week that finalisation of a recovery plan from the floods is essential to support discussions, along with continued financial support from multilateral and bilateral partners.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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