The International Monetary Fund (IMF) may revive Pakistan’s stalled loan programme on March 24 as the fund’s executive board is likely to meet at the end of the month.
According to a local media report that quoted sources in the Ministry of Finance, the fund will meet to approve Pakistan’s request for completion of second to fourth reviews and modify many performance criteria and structural benchmarks that have been agreed at the staff level, which could pave the way for the release of the third loan tranche of $500 million.
Total disbursements by the IMF after approval of the next loan tranche will be close to $2 billion out of the $6 billion programme.
The IMF had also imposed a condition to increase gas prices, which the government did late last year. Ogra has already notified a hike in gas prices for sectors like compressed natural gas (CNG) outlets, power producers, general industry and export-oriented industry.
The increase in electricity prices, both on annual and quarterly basis was part of the IMF conditions. The government has already done that. Similarly, the government has also approved a new budget to meet another IMF prior action.
Some of the other important conditions of the IMF, which the government will be implementing in the coming weeks, are the resolution of outstanding tax issues including timely payments of tax refunds to power distribution companies, circular debt management plan, increasing BISP expenditures, ensuring compliance with the electricity consumers service manual to improve service delivery, implementation of track and trace system by the Federal Board of Revenue, processing of refunds of the exporters and improving terror-financing related regulations.