Islamabad, 1 February 2023 (TDI): Finance Minister of Pakistan, Ishaq Dar held an official meeting with a delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the Finance Division in Islamabad.
IMF Mission Chief Nathan Porter led the delegation. The discussions revolved around Pakistan’s economic and fiscal policies and the reforms required to complete the much-delayed ninth review of a $7 billion loan program.
Remarks by representatives
During the meeting, Ishaq Dar briefed the delegation about the government’s fiscal and economic reforms in various sectors. Those included energy, and measures to bridge the fiscal gap and stabilize the exchange rate.
Dar assured Fund officials that Pakistan would complete the ongoing program. He extended all his support to the mission and committed to working together to reach an agreement to complete the ninth review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
In his turn, IMF Mission Chief expressed confidence that the government would fulfill the requirements for completing the review.
He hoped that Pakistan would continue its progress on the reforms in various sectors and complete the IMF program within time effectively.
Porter said IMF and Pakistan would be working together on fiscal reforms. Notably, IMF Resident Representative Esther Perez Ruiz was also present in the meeting.
From Pakistan’s side, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghous Pasha, Special Assistant of Prime Minister (SAPM) on Finance Tariq Bajwa also attended the meeting.
Additionally, SAPM on Revenue Tariq Mehmood Pasha, State Bank Governor Jamil Ahmad, Finance Secretary, and other government officials were present.
9th IMF Review
Pakistan began a $6 billion IMF program in 2019, which was later expanded to $7 billion. The ninth review is currently underway. The review discussions were supposed to take place in October, but they kept getting pushed back.
The country’s foreign exchange reserves have been depleted to $3.7 billion, which is insufficient to cover even three weeks’ worth of imports.
In such a situation, Pakistan must complete the ninth review as soon as possible, which would not only release $1.2 billion but also unlock inflows from friendly countries and other multilateral lenders.
It is pertinent to note that the technical discussion would continue till February 3. The second phase of policy negotiations would continue till Feb 9 to finalize a memorandum of economic and financial policies.