Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar on Friday assured US Ambassador Donald Blome that the Pakistan government remains committed to completing the ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, a development that comes amid widespread speculation on the facility’s future given it ends in June.
As per a statement released by the Finance Division, Blome called on Ishaq Dar today. During the meeting, the finance minister informed the US envoy about the current IMF programme.
The resumption of the stalled Extended Fund Facility (EFF) is crucial for the cash-strapped economy, which is facing a balance of payment crisis and dwindling foreign exchange reserves. As per the latest data, reserves held by the central bank decreased by $119 million to $4.193 billion due to external debt payments.
The programme has stalled at the level of the ninth review since November last year. Pakistan was then required to complete a certain set of action items on its list including arranging financing to bridge its balance of payments’ position gap and other measures pertaining to the domestic economy.
Meanwhile, as per the statement, Dar welcomed Blome and shared deep-rooted historic and durable bilateral relations with the United States on economic and trade fronts.
The finance minister shared economic policies and priorities of the government to address the challenging economic environment and set the economy to stability and growth.
“The two sides exchanged views on matters of mutual interest and enhancing the existing bilateral relations between both the countries,” read the statement.
Dar informed the US Ambassador about the incumbent government’s plans related to revenues and expenditures for meeting its national as well as international financial obligations.
He shared various economic avenues in which both countries can further deepen their economic relations.
“The US envoy underscored that both countries enjoy good relations and expressed confidence on the policies and programmes of the government for economic sustainability and socio-economic uplift of the masses.
“He extended his support to further promote bilateral economic, investment and trade relations between both the countries,” read the statement.
On Wednesday, Dar said his team had completed all the technical work and prior actions required for the completion of the ninth review. He stressed that there was a “sincere effort” on his and his team’s part to complete the IMF’s ongoing programme and said the delay was “unfortunate”.
The finance minister said the country had repaid $5.5 billion of its commercial loans. Of those, he said China had rolled over $2 billion once it “understood” that Pakistan had completed its requirements for the release of funds by the IMF.