ISLAMABAD: Privatisation may come under discussion between the Pakistani economic team and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the sideline of the IMF-World Bank spring meetings scheduled for April 15 to 20.

Spokesperson of Privatisation Commission told Business Recorder that it held no discussions with the IMF during the second review of Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) from March 14 to 19, 2024.

The focus of the spring meeting of the IMF and the World Bank Group is to bring “together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, parliamentarians, private sector executives, representatives from civil society organizations and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness. Also featured are seminars, regional briefings, press conferences, and other events focused on the global economy, international development, and the world’s financial system.”

Board gives nod to PIA privatisation plan

Individual country programmes rarely come under discussion during the spring meeting and it is unclear whether the mission leader for the next programme will attend the spring meeting however the Pakistani team may seek time with the department head, Jihad Azour, dealing with Pakistan.

The statement issued by the IMF after reaching the Staff Level Agreement (SLA) noted the importance of “advancing SOE reforms to improve the sector’s performance.” While these statements did not explicitly mention privatisation, they underscored the necessity of enhancing the efficiency of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), regardless of ownership.“ Dr Hafeez Pasha while talking to Business Recorder said that at this point in time, perhaps, the IMF’s primary focus was on getting macroeconomic data for the month of March 2024 to assess whether the government would be able to achieve its revenue collection target.

He added that privatisation may come under discussion during talks on the next programme on the sideline of the IMF and World Bank spring meeting next month. In a presentation to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held on March 7, 2024, the prime minister directed that a compressive privatisation programme for the next five years (2024-29) be chalked out in consultation with the concerned Ministries/ Divisions. Privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Power Distribution Companies (Discos) are at the top of the list of entities on active privatisation list.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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Danish Mar 29, 2024 01:26pm
Privatization is the only way to get ride of economic problems faced by Pakistan these days. Especially WAPDA, Railway, PIA and Steel Mills needs to be privatized on war footing basis by government.
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Test Mar 29, 2024 03:35pm
@Danish agree we need to sell each and everything Aurangzeb needs to do the right thing. We have suffered a lot due to gas and energy losses
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Usman Mar 29, 2024 07:56pm
@Test, Privatization of All Power Gen, Trans and Supply cos, Privatization of all Gas supply and trans cos along with the deregulation of Power and Gas supply market to promote open competition.
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