- Staff-level agreement to be reached subsequently after approval by Washington
ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistani authorities have been unable to reach staff-level agreement after a week-long discussions on 9th Review.
Secretary Finance Hamid Yaqoob Shaikh told media persons yesterday that an agreement on actions and prior actions was reached during the technical and policy-level talks with the IMF and staff-level agreement would be reached after the approval from the IMF headquarters in Washington.
The official also acknowledged that there are some differences between the two sides and the solution does not fall within the mandate of the Fund’s mission and the staff team has to explain to their seniors with regard to internal processing of these differences.
The official also disclosed that the IMF team was also waiting for clearance of the ‘statement’ from Washington over conclusion of talks but it has not come yet.
He said the Pakistani authorities were also given the time of 10pm and that is why Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stated that he would speak to media only after that ‘statement’ is received from Washington.
He said if that ‘statement’ is issued the finance minister would speak to media immediately; otherwise, he would have an interaction with media on Friday and that too would be possible only after the receipt of Fund’s ‘statement’ from Washington.
“We have reached an agreement with the Fund on actions and prior actions but staff-level agreement would be reached subsequently after the approval by Washington [IMF headquarters],” he said, adding that the Fund’s team shared memorandum of economic and financial policies (MEFP) with the Pakistani authorities and the country’s external financing needs were also discussed.
He said that the IMF’s board always seeks assurance of bilateral and commercial financing and Pakistan was not asked about anything different this time.
In reply to a question about differences and actions and prior actions, he did not divulge information about actions and prior actions as well as the issues where two sides have shown divergence.
He simply stated that it would become known to everyone after the arrival of IMF’s statement from Washington, which would be “very comprehensive”. He said that the IMF mission would be leaving Pakistan for Washington today (Friday).
Earlier, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar expressed the hope that the ongoing talks between the government and the IMF on the 9th review would yield positive results.
Briefly talking to media persons after a “Road Safety Conference for Parliamentarian,” he said, “Things are moving on the right track and I am hopeful that negotiations will be completed today”.
Earlier, addressing the audience at the conference, he said that road traffic accidents were one of the major causes of loss of precious lives and it also resulted in serious injuries.
“What worries me the most is the fact that these are the biggest killer of young people worldwide, he said, adding that “we can no longer accept this global menace in the larger public interest.”
The Finance Minister said pressure on road infrastructure was increasing. Hence, ensuring effective road safety measures was essential for socioeconomic development.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023