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Friday June 14, 2024

Dar, team to visit US to attend IMF, WB meetings

By Mehtab Haider
April 03, 2023
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar addresses a press conference on loan talks between IMF and Pakistan. — Screengrab/ Geo News
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar addresses a press conference on loan talks between IMF and Pakistan. — Screengrab/ Geo News

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s high-powered delegation, led by Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, is scheduled to visit Washington, DC, for attending the upcoming Annual Spring Meeting of the Breton Wood Institutions (BWIs), known as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, from April 10 to 16.

The finance minister, along with an official delegation comprising the Finance and Economic Affairs division secretaries and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor, might present fresh proposals before the IMF and World Bank for providing dollar inflows.

Pakistan and the IMF would also discuss the possibility of combining the remaining 10th and 11th reviews under the $6.5 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme in case the pending 9th Review is completed.

The IMF programme, under the EFF, is going to expire on June 30, 2023, and under the set guidelines, the programme cannot be extended beyond the deadline.

It is yet to be seen how Pakistan and the IMF sides would proceed with the completion of the bailout programme when the 10th Review has already got delayed. The pending 9th Review was scheduled to be completed in December 2022 and the 10th Review should have been kick-started from February 2023. The 11th Review was scheduled to commence on May 3.

Now the delayed decision on the 9th Review would increase the cost of rectifying the situation. There is no easy solution available to fix the ailing economy of Pakistan. The government argued that they have taken all the tough decisions for reviving the stalled IMF programme.

Now the Fund is seeking verifications from the bilateral friends of Pakistan, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar, if they would provide additional assistance of $6 billion till the end of June 2023.

The SBP foreign exchange reserves stood at $4.2 billion, which is not even sufficient for meeting obligations on account of foreign debt servicing including principal amount and markup.