Pakistan News

Talks with IMF on ninth review in ‘advanced stage’: Finance Division

The Finance Division said on Tuesday that negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the ninth review of Pakistan’s $7bn Extended Fund Facility (EFF) were at the “advanced stage”.

“With the efforts of the current government, the IMF programme has come back on track,” it stated in a press release.

Pakistan entered a $6bn IMF programme in 2019 and its ninth review is currently pending with remote talks being held between IMF officials and the government for the release of $1.18bn.

Earlier, Dawn reported that Pakistan and IMF had had a round of engagement on November 18 but could not finalise a schedule for formal talks on the overdue ninth review.

The talks, originally due in the last week of October, were rescheduled to Nov 3 and then kept on facing delays following gaps in estimates by the two sides.

In a statement issued today, the Finance Division said that the government remained committed to completing the IMF programme while meeting all external debt repayments on time.

The statement also categorically denied that an economic emergency was being imposed in the country.

“Finance Division not only strongly rebuts the assertions made in the said message but also categorically denies it and that there is no planning to impose economic emergency.

“The message is unfortunately aimed at creating uncertainty about the economic situation in the country and can only be spread by those who do not want to see Pakistan prosper,” it said.

Today’s statement comes after a number of messages were circulated on social media regarding an economic emergency being imposed in the country.

Countering what it called “rumours”, the Finance Division said that creating and spreading such false messages was against the national interest in the current times of economic hardship.

It said that even a cursory reading of the nine points would show how “far-fetched those suggestions are”, adding that it was “quite inappropriate” to equate Pakistan with Sri Lanka, given the “inherent strength and diversity” in the former’s economy.

The division said that the present difficult economic situation was largely due to the following factors:

It added that the government was making “utmost efforts” to minimise the impact of such external factors, even when faced with the economic consequences of unprecedented floods and having to meet IMF conditionalities.

“In this challenging economic situation, the government has put in place a number of austerity measures with the approval of the federal cabinet. Such measures are in public knowledge and are aimed at eliminating non-essential expenditures.

“Similarly, the government has been deliberating energy conservation mainly aimed at reducing the import bill. Such deliberations will continue in the cabinet and all decisions will be taken in consultation with all stakeholders and in the best national interest,” the Finance Division said.

Pointing to the government’s efforts, it added that they had resulted in lower current account deficits in recent months and the achievement of the Federal Board of Revenue’s revenue targets.

“Easing up of pressure on the external account is also foreseen in the near future. While there remains the need to make structural adjustments in the mid-term, the economic situation of the country is now moving towards stability.

“Finance Division urges the people of Pakistan to contribute towards economic betterment and stability and not to pay heed to malicious rumourmongering which is against the national interest of Pakistan,” the press release concluded.

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