A delegation of International Monetary Fund (IMF) will visit Pakistan from January 31 to February 9 as part of the 9th review of the $7 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF), according to an official on Thursday.
The country had entered a $6 billion programme of the global lender in 2019, which was later increased to $7 billion.
The talks could result into the release of the much-awaited $1.18bn, as the country continues to battle a critical financial crisis.
It had been delayed for two months owing to the government’s unwillingness to accept some conditions put forth by the Fund.
“At the request of the authorities, an in-person Fund mission is scheduled to visit Islamabad January 31 – February 9 to continue the discussions under the ninth EFF review,” said IMF Resident Representative for Pakistan Esther Perez Ruiz.
The official added that the mission would focus on policies to restore domestic and external sustainability, including to strengthen the fiscal position with durable and high quality measures while supporting the vulnerable and those affected by the floods, and the viability of the power sector.
It would also discuss ways to reverse the continued accumulation of circular debt, and re-establish proper functioning of the foreign exchange market, allowing the exchange rate to clear the forex shortage.
“Stronger policy efforts and reforms are critical to reduce the current elevated uncertainty that weighs on the outlook, strengthen Pakistan’s resilience, and obtain financing support from official partners and the markets that is vital for Pakistan’s sustainable development,” the official maintained.
Two days ago (Jan 24), Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan had shown its willingness to the IMF to enter a deal. The statement came as the country continued to battle a financial crisis.
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“[The government told IMF that it] wants to complete the programme for the 9th review,” he said at the launch of an agricultural loan scheme for youth, in Islamabad.
“IMF stands with Pakistan,” he quoted the global financial institution as saying. “We will pull the country out of this crisis.”
On Jan 19, Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha also said that the government was willing to accept all conditions of the global financial institution in order to revive the much-needed deal.