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February 15, 2020

IMF says Pakistan met performance criteria, structural benchmarks

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February 15, 2020

By News Desk

GENEVA/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has achieved all of its economic goals in terms of performance, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in an end-of-mission press release issued on Friday pertaining to its 10-day talks with the government.

“Considerable progress has been made in the last few months in advancing reforms and continuing with sound economic policies,” the global financial body said.

The IMF further noted in its statement that “all end-December performance criteria were met and structural benchmarks have been completed” and in terms of performance, Pakistan achieved all economic targets.

“Steadfast progress on program implementation will pave the way for the IMF Executive Board’s consideration of the review,” it said, adding that “development and social spending have been accelerated” through programme implementation. “The IMF staff team had constructive and productive discussions with the Pakistani authorities and commended them on the considerable progress made during the last few months in advancing reforms and continuing with sound economic policies,” said Ramirez Rigo in the statement on the conclusion of the visit.

“The macroeconomic outlook remains broadly as expected at the time of the first review while the economic activity has stabilized and remains on the path of gradual recovery,” Rigo said, adding the Current Account deficit had declined, helped by the real exchange rate that was now broadly in line with fundamentals, international reserves continued to rebuild at a pace considerably faster than anticipated.

According to the statement, inflation should start to see a declining trend as the pass-through of exchange rate depreciation has been absorbed supply-side constraints appear to be temporary.

Fiscal performance in the first half of the fiscal year remained strong, with the general government registering a primary surplus of 0.7 per cent of GDP on the back of strong domestic tax revenue growth. Development and social spending have been accelerated, the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, Special Secretary Finance and spokesperson Finance Division Omar Hamid Khan, while commenting on the negotiations between Pakistan and IMF, said the talks were concluded with complete understanding on all issues and progress in all areas was noted.

“The IMF Mission concludes their staff level visit expressing satisfaction with the progress made,” he tweeted. The IMF Board in all likelihood would approve the recommendations of the review team, he added. –