ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) may be waiting for the release of March 2024 macroeconomic data before taking the Staff Level Agreement (SLA) on the final Stand-By-Arrangement review to its Board late April that would trigger the release of $1.1 billion.

The IMF Board is scheduled to hold three meetings till the end March though the schedule for April has not yet been announced.

However, sources in the Ministry of Finance told this correspondent that the late April Board date for approval of the review may either be due to the time required for the preparation of documents for Board consideration or, as is the general perception, due to the time agreed to implement some politically challenging prior conditions.

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Dr Pasha maintained that the concern is that there may be a shortfall in revenue growth and in such a situation the government would be required to take taxation measures for April-June 2024.

Pasha said that implementation of reforms that would be agreed with the Fund under next programme would be politically challenging for the government. He said that further increase in utility prices would increase the circular debt as people would consume less electricity and gas but fixed price would go up.

Power sector losses 23 percent in Pakistan are double as compared to 10 percent in India and 11 percent in Bangladesh, he said, adding the government would be required to bring about improvement in distributing system by investing in it, reduce losses and gradually shift towards alternative resources to deal with the challenge of circular debt.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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