IMF agrees on talks with Pakistan for ninth tranche of loan

by Tauqeer Abbas
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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed on resuming talks with Pakistan regarding release of tranche under the ninth review of the Extended Fund Facility (EEF), sources told Dunya News on Tuesday.

Sources said the two sides are expected to hold virtual talk this week in which the finance ministry officials will take the IMF officials into confidence regarding economic targets.

They said the virtual encounter between the two sides would decide the schedule for IMF delegation s visit to Pakistan.

Earlier, the federal government had sent a letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), requesting it to send its team to cash-strapped Pakistan next week to complete the ninth review for the release of next tranche of loan pending since September last.

The government, as per reports, has expressed willingness to implement on the four major conditions of the global lender for the revival of the loan programme as the foreign exchange reserves of the South Asian country continues to deplete, putting country’s essential imports at risk and triggering a new wave of inflation.

The four major demands made by the IMF to revive the progrmme, include increase in gas and electricity prices, market-based exchange rate and additional taxes to cover the fiscal deficit.

Secretary Finance Hamed Yaqoob Shaikh has formally written to the IMF mission chief to visit Pakistan next week in a last resort to restart the much-needed loan programme.

An official told media that the government had completed working to implement the four IMF demands conveyed by the Fund officials in a meeting on the sidelines of the Geneva moot.

Another official said Pakistan was not in position to afford the failure in talks with the global lender as it could adversely affect the country.

The IMF approved seventh and eighth reviews together in August last and released more than $1.1 billion.

Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha on Thursday told the Senate Standing Committee on Finance that the government wants to continue programme with the IMF in such a way that the common man should not bear the burden of tough decisions to be made as per the Fund’s condition.

Mrs. Pasha said that the government’s economic team was having meetings with the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to focus on its programme with the IMF. She said the premier was not in favor of taking tax measures across the board that could put an extra burden on the poor and common people.

To a question, she did not give any date when to start talks with the IMF team but she said that the government was firm to go with the programme after having a detailed workout. She said the government would try to convince the IMF about the worst situation in Pakistan after the disastrous floods last year.

“The people are already suffering due to the disastrous flooding and they are not in a position to afford any further measures”.

Source: Dunya News

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