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Tuesday May 28, 2024

IMF ready to send mission to Pakistan after cabinet formation

The IMF stands ready to send its mission to Pakistan after the formation of a new cabinet under the $3 billion Standby Arrangement (SBA) programme

By Mehtab Haider & Wajid Ali Syed 
March 08, 2024
Screenshot of IMF Communications Director Julie Kozak addressing a press briefing in Washington on Mar 7, 2024. — x/IMFSpokesperson
Screenshot of IMF Communications Director Julie Kozak addressing a press briefing in Washington on Mar 7, 2024. — x/IMFSpokesperson

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: The IMF stands ready to send its mission to Pakistan after the formation of a new cabinet under the $3 billion Standby Arrangement (SBA) programme.

In a press briefing held at the IMF headquarters in Washington, DC, on Thursday, Fund’s Communications Director Julie Kozak was asked about IMF’s assessment of Pakistan’s external financial needs for 2024 fiscal year, calendar year and what would be the size of the next IMF programme for the country and what kind of risks the Fund was assessing while dealing with Pakistan at this point in time.

In reply, the official said that on January 11, the IMF Executive Board approved the first review of the Stand-by Arrangement with Pakistan, bringing total disbursements under the Stand-by Arrangement to about $1.9 billion and the SBA supported programme underpins the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy with a strong emphasis on protecting the most vulnerable segments of the population.

During the period of the caretaker government, the authorities maintained economic stability through strict adherence to the fiscal targets while protecting the social safety net, maintaining a tight monetary policy stance to control inflation and continuing to build foreign exchange reserves. And this has been done at the same time as implementing timely adjustments in tariffs to shore up the viability of the energy sector.

The IMF stands ready to hold a mission for the second review of the Stand-by shortly after a new cabinet is formed. The focus, therefore, is currently on completion of the current Stand-by programme, which ends in April 2024.

“We look forward to working with the new government on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability,” added the spokesperson.

To another question related to political instability, Spokesperson Ms. Kozak said she was not going to comment on politics. “Only to say that the IMF stands ready, as I said, to send a mission after a new cabinet is formed, and we look forward to working with the government to ensure stability, macroeconomic stability, for the good of the people of Pakistan,” she added.