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ISLAMABAD: Timely financial assistance from external partners will be critical to support the Pakistani authorities’ policy efforts and ensure the successful completion of the ninth review of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), said the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Julie Kozack, Director of Communications at the IMF during a media briefing, said they (the IMF) do need to ensure that they have those financing assurances in place in order to be able to take the next step with Pakistan.

Kozack said that Pakistan’s economy faces multiple challenges including slowing growth, high inflation, and large financing needs. And of course, this is all coming on the back of devastating floods. She further said that discussions are ongoing between the IMF staff and the Pakistani authorities toward a Staff Level Agreement on policies to complete the ninth review of Pakistan’s extended Fund Facility, the authorities are committed to implementing the necessary reforms.

No requirement in Pakistan programme that interferes with polls: IMF

They have started to implement decisive actions to stabilize the economy and restore confidence. While providing space to accommodate the needs related to the floods, including through an increase in social assistance through the Benazir Income Support Program, which is aimed at the most vulnerable.

Timely financial assistance from external partners will be critical to support the authorities’ policy efforts and ensure the successful completion of the review, she added. Kozack stated, “So, I would may be add that to say that at this point, ensuring that there is sufficient financing to support the authorities is the paramount priority. A Staff Level Agreement will follow once the few remaining points are closed.

I can also say that financing assurances, right, what we’re looking for here are a standard feature of all IMF programs. Aside from support provided by the IMF, Pakistan’s, EFF supported program receives financing from other multilateral institutions, including the World Bank, the ADB, and the AIIB and bilateral partners, notably China, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.“

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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