Islamabad, 25 January 2023 (TDI): Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif, said that Pakistan has sent a “clear message” to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about its desire to complete the 9th review of the $7 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
He expressed these views while addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Prime Minister’s Youth Loan Scheme for Business and Agriculture. Sharif reiterated the government’s desire to complete the review.
He said, “We have given the IMF a clear message that we want to complete the ninth review. We are prepared to meet with them to discuss the conditions.
This is the only way to reach an agreement and Pakistan can move forward.” The Prime Minister stated that the government had written to the international lending institution.
Along these lines, Sharif reaffirmed, “I spoke with the IMF managing director two weeks ago, and we have proactively approached them that we want to complete the ninth review as soon as possible.”
Finance Minister’s virtual dialogue with IMF
The Finance Minister of Pakistan, Ishaq Dar participated virtually in the talks with the IMF representatives on Tuesday. He briefed the IMF on the new tax measures in the mini-budget.
Dar assured the IMF that the government will fulfill all conditions including an increase in gas prices and a petroleum development levy will be fulfilled.
However, the deadlock persists in the virtual negotiations between the Ministry of Finance and the IMF. The date of the IMF mission for the ninth review could not be fixed in the negotiations.
Notably, the IMF has set preconditions including increasing the Petroleum Development Levy (PDL) on petroleum products, ending the electricity subsidy, and fixing the dollar exchange rate according to the market.
In contrast, the interbank and open market differences should be eliminated. The international lender also called for the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to increase revenue targets and tax net to meet the targets set in the budget.
The IMF wants the approval of its demands before finalizing the date of the mission, and the Finance Ministry officials have assured to fulfill all preconditions in the talks. The date of the IMF mission is likely to be finalized at the end of the talks.