IMF talks may extend beyond 25th: SBP chief

Pakistan and the IMF are likely to go an extra mile to finish the seventh review under the bailout programme, the central bank chief said on Monday, indicating the ongoing talks could last longer than expected to cover the budgetary procedure.

“Talks may continue beyond May 25 for a few more days, but the IMF will hopefully see a positive statement from the Fund before they extend,” Dr Murtaza Saeed, acting governor of State bank of Pakistan (SBP), told a virtual brief from Doha. “Budget preparation is part of the current review talks and it can take some more time to finalise.”

Pakistan and the IMF opened long-delayed talks last Wednesday to complete a review which, if it is successful, will unlock around $900 million seventh tranche. Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Monday joined Pakistan’s finance team, which is in Doha, for further consultations with the IMF. Pakistan has already asked the IMF to increase the size and duration of its $6 billion programme in a meeting with IMF officials in Washington last month.

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