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Business

March 9, 2018

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IMF awaits Pakistan’s nod to release post program monitoring report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is yet to give a go-ahead to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to present the latest outlook on the country’s economy after the end of its three-year loan program, officials said on Thursday – a report that is crucial to guide external financing the country direly needs to keep up growth momentum.

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Officials said the government has not yet formally granted permission to the IMF to release its maiden post program monitoring (PPM) report.

“Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will take final decision to this effect anytime soon,” an official said.

Early this week, IMF’s executive board concluded the first PPM discussions with Pakistan’s authorities related to a three-year $6.7 billion extended fund facility program that ended in September 2016.

The IMF’s board took one and a half day to issue a news statement after the PPM meeting was concluded on March 5. The board termed widening current and fiscal account deficits as challenge to macroeconomic stability.

Officials said Prime Minister’s approval is required for IMF to publish its PPM report on its website and so far the premier has not yet accorded an approval.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance Miftah Ismail told The News that he would soon meet the premier to get an advice on the lingering issue.

An IMF official, while referring to the fund’s ‘Transparency Policy—Progress Report on Publication of Country Documents’, said the report would be published ‘by default’.

The IMF’s publication policy increases both accountability and the availability of reliable information to the public, the fund said in a statement. “Systematic and timely publication of country staff reports can play an important role in mobilising support for policy actions,” it added. “Release of Article IV staff reports is intended to enhance the effectiveness of fund surveillance by facilitating better risk assessment. Similarly, publication of staff reports on use of fund resources provides the broader context for fund-supported programs, thereby strengthening the credibility of, and public confidence in, such programs and enhancing country ownership of these programs.”

Meanwhile, Ismail, at a meeting with senior representatives of various foreign banks based in Pakistan, said government took a number of steps to curb terror financing and would continue to do so in its own national interest.

“Despite challenges,

PML-N government is well on course to achieve the growth target of 6 percent,” a government statement quoted the adviser as saying. “The government is committed to contain the fiscal deficit with steady increase in revenue as well as a prudent spending policy.”

The adviser also shared with the officials details of the recent developments in the context of Financial Action Task Force meeting in Paris. Ismail said Pakistan has already taken a number of measures to prevent terror financing and would continue to do so in its own national interest. “Such efforts would continue with the active help and support of the financial sector of Pakistan,” he said. “In the last few years Pakistan had worked with the international community to improve its legal framework and the policy of engagement would continue with a view to address certain mis-perceptions.”

The adviser further said the government has undertaken a number of energy projects which helped resolve the issue of power shortage in the country and in coming months the situation would further improve with new power stations becoming functional.

He said smooth supply of energy to different industries is having a positive impact on economy, and spurred economic and trade activities.

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