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Pakistan

Pakistan has to satisfy IMF on three counts including budget ‘consistent with programme objectives’

  • Resident representative says there is time for one last board review before scheduled end of Extended Fund Facility
Published June 8, 2023

KARACHI: Pakistan has to satisfy the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on three counts, starting with a budget to be presented on Friday, before its board will review whether to release at least some of the $2.5 billion still to be disbursed under a lending programme that will expire at the end of this month, an IMF official said.

Esther Perez Ruiz, the IMF’s resident representative for Pakistan, said on Thursday that there was only time for one last IMF board review before the scheduled end of the $6.5-billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

Pakistan has barely enough foreign currency reserves to cover one month of imports. It had hoped to have $1.1 billion of the funds released in November - but the IMF has insisted on a number of conditions being met before it makes any more disbursements.

“As communicated to the authorities, there can be one remaining Board meeting under the current EFF at end-June,” Perez Ruiz said in an email response to Reuters.

“To pave the way for a final review under the current EFF, it is essential to restore the proper functioning of the foreign exchange market, pass a FY24 budget consistent with programme objectives, and secure firm and credible financing commitments to close the $6 billion gap ahead of the Board,” she added.

The IMF had tasked Pakistan with securing external financing commitments for $6 billion from other sources, but so far it has only obtained commitments for $4 billion, mostly from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Under pressure to shift to a more market determined exchange rate regime and shut down an unofficial currency market, Pakistan let the rupee float freely earlier this year, but analysts suspect that the authorities are still trying to manage the exchange rate, out of fear that the rupee could fall too much.

Perez Ruiz also laid out the IMF’s broad expectations for the upcoming budget.

“The focus of discussions over the FY24 budget is to balance the need to strengthen debt sustainability prospects while creating space to increase social spending,” she said.

More such spending would defray the impact of inflationary pressures on Pakistan’s most vulnerable people, Perez Ruiz added, but the government needed to make more progress to identify spending and revenue-generating measures in order to achieve this.

The country is reeling from an economic crisis with inflation running at a record 37.97% in May. The government has imposed taxes, raised energy tariffs and scaled back subsidies in an attempt to persuade the IMF to unlock funding, and its central bank has also raised the key policy rate to a record 21%.

The IMF has conducted just eight of the ten reviews that were to take place during the EFF, and the last one took place in August last year.

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Fayaz Hussain Jun 08, 2023 03:16pm
Good
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Fayaz Hussain Jun 08, 2023 03:17pm
This university is well
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Tulukan Mairandi Jun 08, 2023 03:25pm
No IMF deal. Only default
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Jani Walker Jun 08, 2023 03:34pm
There is no chance that Dar will obey the IMF. Default down the road clearly visible.
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AmirSh Jun 08, 2023 05:06pm
Another "do more" from IMF- A polite way to say NO. Time for our Financial Szar- Ishaq Dar to face the music.
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Ashfaq Jun 08, 2023 05:09pm
Seems like Pakistan is unable to meet all 3 options, only way out is default, renegotiate the loan and move forward with IMF program.
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ali akber Jun 08, 2023 05:41pm
Those running unfortunately affairs of 240 millions Pakistani of Pakistan & their backers facilitators abettors have been running affairs from 1958 to 2018 (Excluding
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test Jun 09, 2023 03:37am
Say no to dollars and instead focus on Yuan. Say no to IMF and complete BRI on time. Say no to assembling and focus on manufacturing. Say no to western countries and say yes to China for everything. I will vote for that party whose interests will align with the interests of China. Long Live China Pakistan brotherhood. Long Live CPEC.
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Tested_Nation Jun 09, 2023 07:25pm
IMF, Ishaq Dar, PDM, Floods, Droughts, Terrorism, none of this is our problem, its just that we are not able to spell out the actual problem and neither can we boot it out.
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