FinMin Dar seeks US help to resume stalled IMF loan

FinMin Dar seeks US help to resume stalled IMF loan

Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar (right) speaks to US Ambassador Pakistan Donald Blome in Islamabad, on June 21, 2023. — Twitter/@FinMinistryPak

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has again sought the help of the United States to unlock the stalled International Monetary Fund programme, sources told Geo News Wednesday.

The US is a significant player in the IMF, and Pakistan seeks to use its position as a long-time ally for concluding the Extended Fund Facility’s ninth review.

The development came during Dar’s meeting with US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome.

“[Both sides] discussed matters of mutual interest between the two countries,” a statement from the Ministry of Finance read.

Despite several attempts from the Pakistani side, hopes are diminishing for the revival of the IMF programme, which will expire on June 30.

The IMF sent out its review mission on January 31 to February 9, 2023, but the Staff Level Agreement (SLA) could not be signed.

The lender placed strict conditions before signing the SLA, which Pakistan said had already been met.

Minister for Finance Dar held virtual meetings with the IMF high-ups in April to strike a consensus but failed to break the ice between the two sides.

Then the prime minister made a telephone call to IMF MD and discussed issues for the revival of the stalled programme. However, nothing substantial was achieved.

Later, IMF Resident Chief Esther Perez Ruiz issued a statement criticising the budget 2023-24.

The Ministry of Finance also issued a statement in its response, but both sides showed commitment to remain engaged for the conclusion of the pending ninth review.

Pakistan has also asked the Washington-based lender to arrange a meeting of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on the sidelines of the upcoming New Global Financing Pact Summit being held in Paris from June 22-23.

“If this request is turned down, then there will be no possibility of reviving the Fund programme under the $6.7 billion Extended Fund Facility. However, if the meeting is held and both sides achieve a breakthrough, then chances of reviving the programme will brighten,” a top official said while talking to The News on Tuesday.

Foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) stand at around $4 billion, enough to cover less than a month’s imports.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *