Ever since the IMF mission completed its field visit to Pakistan in March, the country awaits the next tranche by the fund. In the follow up, Pakistan has fulfilled a number of conditions by the fund, however, the country still seems to have remained non-compliant on the conditions set by the fund.
Talking about the said conditions, the state minister for finance and revenue Dr. Ayesha Ghous Pasha, said that the only option that Pakistan had was resuming its IMF program. She said this in a policy statement to the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance. When asked about an alternative to the IMF program, in case it does not come through, Dr. Pasha said that Pakistan has no Plan B other than the IMF.
It is important to note that despite what Dr. Aisha Ghous says, the finance minister Ishaq Dar claimed earlier this week that Pakistan will make do with or without the IMF program. While talking to businessmen, Ishaq Dar was of the opinion that Pakistan’s external financing is in order. In fact a few days earlier, it was the Minister of State on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Pasha herself who said that the IMF should not be meddling in the internal politics of Pakistan.
Dr. Aisha Ghous Pasha, in her statement revealed that due to the current account deficit numbers, the fund had asked Pakistan to provide assurance for $6 billion from bilateral sources. Pakistan has been pushing for giving an assurance of $3 billion (that it has already done), before the staff level agreement and the remaining $3 billion after. However, as revealed by media sources, the fund is firm on its stance and has rejected this proposal.
Dr. Pasha has also stated that Pakistan has shared a version of the upcoming budget, broadly in line with IMF guidelines, with the fund. This shows Pakistan’s willingness to play the long game with the IMF. The end of the current IMF program is near; however, no development on the 9th review has been made public. Whether Pakistan is able to secure an IMF bailout for the upcoming years remains strongly contingent upon the current IMF programme.