After holding “multiple meetings” with Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and his staff in Washington, the International Monetary Fund said that it will send a delegation to Pakistan in May.
Following Ismail’s discussions with IMF officials, the Finance Division issued a news statement announcing the mission’s travel to Pakistan.
Deputy Managing Director Antoinette Sayeh, Director MCD Jihad Azour, and Mission Chief Nathan Porter were among the IMF personnel Miftah met.
“The group spoke on how to finish the seventh review. “Finance Minister Miftah Ismail outlined his government’s aims and measures to restore budgetary discipline while protecting the vulnerable from global oil price volatility,” according to the statement.
The IMF has “expressed assistance” to the Pakistani delegation, according to the Finance Division.
“An IMF delegation led by Mission Chief Nathan Porter will visit Pakistan in May to address the concerns surrounding the departing government’s announcement of fuel and power subsidies,” the statement stated.
During the tour, Finance Minister Miftah and his colleagues met with World Bank Managing Director Axel von Trotsenburg, Vice President Hartwig Schafer, and other officials.
“Ongoing programme loans and projects, as well as opportunities for additional support, were considered.” The finance minister thanked bank officials for their financial and technical assistance throughout the process. MD Operations also promised Pakistan complete help, according to the release.
The group also met with the IMF’s vice president, vice president MIGA, and executive directors.
Miftah Ismail departs for Washington to renegotiate IMF programme
Miftah Ismail, the newly appointed Finance Minister, flew to Washington on April 21 to resurrect the $6 billion IMF deal signed by the PTI administration.
Pakistan and the IMF secured an agreement on economic policy at the staff level in May 2019 for a three-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF). Pakistan was supposed to get $6 billion over 39 months under the terms of the deal, but it has only gotten nearly half of that.
Pakistan was waiting for the IMF to start negotiations on the facility’s seventh review, which had been put on hold owing to the country’s political instability.
The IMF will release over $900 million and unlock other foreign finance if the review is approved. The government is in desperate need of external funds, with a huge current account deficit and foreign reserves as low as $10.8 billion.
The new administration confronts a difficult challenge in satisfying the IMF, given the former government’s subsidies exacerbated the financial position.