IMF ‘satisfied’ with Pakistan’s significant progress in economic goals


Separate meetings of finance minister, SBP governor, energy minister also scheduled with IMF team

The introductory review meeting between Pakistan and the visiting delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)  has concluded at the Finance Ministry. 
The visiting IMF mission was headed by Nathan Porter, and further talks between the two sides will be held in a local hotel. 
According to sources, the Pakistani team informed the Fund about the country’s economic performance in the current financial year, and also expressed the desire to negotiate for a new deal after completing the current program. 
Reportedly, the IMF expressed satisfaction over significant progress in Pakistan’s economic goals. The mission appreciated the government for taking ownership of the loan programme, as per the sources. Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb assured the team of continuing economic reforms, the sources added. 
The Pakistani side also expressed determination to carry forward the positive economic policies adopted during the caretaker government. It also assured the IMF of achieving the annual target of Rs9.4 trillion without imposing new taxes. 
The talks between Pakistan and the IMF mission will continue till March 18
Earlier today, formal negotiations for the second and final economic review between Pakistan’s finance team and the IMF began at the Finance Ministry. The meeting was attended by newly inducted Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor, the energy minister, and the Federal Board of Revenue chairman. 
Furthermore, separate meetings of the finance minister, State Bank governor, and energy minister are also scheduled with the IMF team. In these meetings, the finance minister will reportedly brief the IMF mission about the government’s priorities, the SBP governor and the energy minister will separately inform the visiting delegation about the implementation of the Fund’s targets. 
The Ministry of Finance said that as per the IMF’s second economic review, Pakistan has implemented all the targets, as 25 out of the 26 targets have been met under the loan programme. Among the targets, the conditions of not taking government loans from the central bank and timely external payments have been fulfilled. 
Moreover, power sector arrears, including tax dues and refund payments, were cleared on time. The condition of not giving tax exemptions or tax amnesty was also fully implemented. The rate of 1.25% continued to be implemented in currency exchange between the interbank and the open market. 
Among the other targets achieved were the timely completion of the condition of rebasing of electricity rates and increase in gas prices. 
Officials of the Ministry of Finance were scheduled to submit a report on the implementation of the targets to the visiting IMF mission. 
Only the condition of amendment to the SOA law and the implementation of the amendment law have been fulfilled. The laws governing the National Highway Authority, Pakistan Post and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation could not be amended. 
Pakistan is set to get a $1.1 billion tranche on the successful completion of the final assessment. After the staff-level agreement, the IMF Executive Board will approve the final installment to be disbursed to Pakistan. 
A $3 billion loan program with the IMF was agreed upon in July 2023 out of which the IMF has already provided $1.9 billion to Pakistan. 
Story by Shakeel Ahmed

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