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ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) continues to work with the Pakistani authorities to bring the ninth review to a conclusion once the necessary financing is in place and the agreement is finalised.

This was stated by Nathan Porter, the IMF Mission Chief while responding to the Business Recorder’s question. The Mission Chief also stated that the IMF supports the authorities in the implementation of policies in the period ahead, including in the technical work to prepare the fiscal year 2024 budget.

The IMF Mission Chief stated, “The IMF continues to work with the Pakistani authorities to bring the ninth review to conclusion once the necessary financing is in place and the agreement is finalized.”

IMF to discuss Pakistan’s FY24 budget plans

He further stated that in addition, the IMF supports the authorities in the implementation of policies in the period ahead, including in the technical work to prepare the fiscal year 2024 budget, which is to be passed by the National Assembly before end-June.

Reuters adds: Pakistan and the IMF have been discussing fiscal policy measures in the review since February, aiming to resume stalled funding of $1.1 billion due in November from a $6.5-billion programme agreed in 2019.

The measures have fuelled highest ever inflation, posted at 36.4% in April.

The IMF funding is crucial for Pakistan to avert default on its external payment obligations during a balance of payment crisis, in which foreign exchange reserves have shrunk to just four weeks of controlled imports.

As part of the conditions, Pakistan has given an assurance that its balance of payments gap this fiscal year, which ends in June, is fully funded.

Pakistan has announced pledges worth $3 billion in financing support from Saudi Arabia and UAE, but the funds have yet to come through. Longtime ally China has rolled over and refinanced its loans.

Islamabad and the IMF have had differences over the gap. It was not clear if the Saudi, UAE and Chinese financing would be sufficient, or if more external support would be needed.

It was also not immediately clear why the lender wanted to work on the technical preparation of the budget, which is not covered by the programme.

The step could be linked to a possible new IMF lending plan, said Yousuf Nazar, an economist and former head of equities and investments at Citigroup.

“I think it is unavoidable that they would like to ensure the government will meet its commitments particularly, when it is in no position to repay the debt, which will inevitably need a new programme,” he told Reuters.

Pakistan’s finance ministry and the IMF did not immediately respond to a request for a comment. The current IMF programme aims to disburse an additional $1.4 billion before it concludes in June.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Tulukan Mairandi May 06, 2023 08:53am
Not happening. No bailout
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Maqbool May 06, 2023 09:07am
Pakistan is still not on the IMF board agenda till July 2023, add six weeks for dispersement that’s no money till at least Sept …. Then elections set in .
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