IMF team set to travel to Pakistan to decide fate of ninth review

PM says fund’s team will travel in two to three days to negotiate ninth review 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Friday that a delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would travel to Pakistan in two to three days to finalise the ninth review.

The prime minister stated this while addressing the inaugural ceremony of Hazara Electric Supply Company (HESC) on Friday.

During his address, the premier said that he had spoken with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, the previou night. He said that he assured the MD that the current government wished to fulfill the terms of the agreement which had been shattered by the previous government.

He said that Pakistan would try its best to fulfil the terms of the IMF agreement, while simultaneously highlighting the destruction brought by last year’s catastrophic floods.

The premier further said that he asked Georgieva to dispatch a delegation to Pakistan in order to complete the ninth review of the IMF programme. “She told me that an IMF team will arrive in Pakistan in two to three days.”

The Prime Minister Office said that the Managing Director International Monetary Fund Ms. Kristalina Georgieva  called  Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif over telephone and expressed her deep sympathy and concern on the human and material losses due to the recent floods and reiterated her commitment to help Pakistan in this difficult period.

The Prime Minister thanked the Managing Director for her concern on the fallout of the floods and extended an invitation to the M.D to participate in the Climate Resilient Pakistan Conference at Geneva.

M.D thanked the P.M for the invitation but explained that as the IMF Board meetings had been prefixed for 9th and 10th of January, she will only be able to join the conference virtually.

The Prime Minister assured the M.D IMF that Pakistan is committed to successfully completing the ongoing IMF programme and thanked the M.D for her understanding and empathy of the challenges that Pakistan has been facing.  

Why the urgency?

On Thursday, Pakistan recorded its lowest level of foreign reserves, since April 2014. The State Bank of Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves were clocked at an alarmingly low level of 5.58 billion. Causing Pakistan’s import cover to drop to less than a month according to experts.

In such trying times Pakistan is in dire need of valuable foreign exchange reserves, not only to pay off its debts but also to finance its imports. As of now, the government has been unable to secure bilateral loans and the resumption of the IMF program, seems to be the only way forward to break the deadlock of forex inflow.

According to the Finance Minister, the delay in the 9th review of the IMF has been caused by an unsatisfactory assessment of the flood rehabilitation program by the government.

 

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Shahzad Paracha
Shahzad Paracha
The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Islamabad bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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