Power sector management: Govt yet to submit alternative plan to WB

The government is yet to submit an alternative plan for power sector management to the World Bank, the lead agency in this sector, or demonstrate the generation of an additional Rs 100 billion through enforcement measures prior to re-engaging with the International Monetary Fund for the sixth review under the $ 6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

A senior member of the government’s economic team told Business Recorder on condition of anonymity that work on the power sector management plan remains incomplete and therefore it has not been submitted to the World Bank. As soon as the alternate plan is finalized, alternate to what the Pakistani authorities agreed in the second to fifth review talks held in February 2021, the plan will be submitted for approval to the multilateral.

The possibility of tweaking the programme by the World Bank remains and time will tell if the World Bank would defer its approval pending a demonstration of its success in which case the IMF sixth review maybe further deferred.

He further stated that the Finance Minister is engaged with the possible options to eliminate flow of circular debt, as well as to deal with the stock.

About mobilization of additional Rs 100 billion revenue through enforcement subsequent to withdrawal of budgetary measures by the Finance Minister (including withdrawal of the FED on mobile phone calls/SMS and internet data usage) the official said that exchange of information was taking place with the Fund on a regular basis, however, formal negotiations on this issue are yet to start.

IMF resident representative Teresa Dabán Sanchez said on Monday that her response is the same as that shared with the Business Recorder on Friday notably that the IMF is looking forward to continuing discussions with the Pakistani authorities on the set of policies and reforms that could form the basis for completion of the sixth review.

“We welcome the strong and constructive engagement with the Pakistani authorities and we stand ready to continue supporting Pakistan to achieve the objectives of debt sustainability and strong and sustainable growth, through the implementation of the policies, structural reforms and social spending enhancement envisaged in the EFF-supporting program,” she had added.

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