ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission will visit Pakistan from January 31-February 9 to continue the discussions for the 9th review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
This was confirmed by IMF Resident Representative Esther Perez Ruiz to Business Recorder here on Thursday.
She stated, “At the request of the authorities, an in-person Fund mission is scheduled to visit Islamabad January 31st – February 9th to continue the discussions under the ninth EFF review.
The mission will focus on policies to restore domestic and external sustainability, including to strengthen the fiscal position with durable and high quality measures while supporting the vulnerable and those affected by the floods; restore the viability of the power sector and reverse the continued accumulation of circular debt; and reestablish the proper functioning of the FX market, allowing the exchange rate to clear the FX shortage.
Stronger policy efforts and reforms are critical to reduce the current elevated uncertainty that weighs on the outlook, strengthen Pakistan’s resilience, and obtain financing support from official partners and the markets that is vital for Pakistan’s sustainable development.”
IMF says Fund mission scheduled to visit Islamabad at end of January
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said that Pakistan had given a “clear message” to the IMF about the country’s desire to complete the ninth review of the $7 billion EFF.
“We have given the IMF a clear message that we want to complete the ninth review. We are ready and want to sit down regarding your conditions so that it can be concluded and Pakistan can move forward”, he added.
The government on Tuesday held a virtual meeting with the IMF mission chief and an exchange of information was started with regard to the ninth review. There were also reports that the prime minister and the secretary finance during the talks with the Fund were also joined by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar from Qatar through a video link.
The Fund has reportedly sought the withdrawal of subsidies, increasing gas and electricity prices as well as an increase in the PL on petroleum products and market-based exchange rate.
The government has reportedly informed the Fund about review measures under consideration and steps to deal with the problem of circular debt in the energy sector.
As per the IMF seventh, and eighth review documents, uploaded on the website end September 2022, the ninth review was scheduled for November 3, 2022.
The executive board approved the sixth review on February 2, 2022, following discussions that ended on November 18, 2021, with the officials of Pakistan – the time lapse attributed to the delay in meeting the “prior” conditions.
According to the staff report released after approval of sixth review the proposed schedule for seventh review was March 4, 2022, and June 3, 2022, for the eighth review. However, the IMF executive board approved the seventh and eighth review under the EFF on August 29, following discussions that ended on May 25th 2022 – the delay again attributable to the delay in meeting the “prior” conditions.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023
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