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IMF-Pakistan bailout discussions have made progress, according to an IMF official

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  The IMF's permanent representative in Islamabad on Wednesday that significant progress has been achi...


Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  The IMF's permanent representative in Islamabad on Wednesday that significant progress has been achieved in discussions between the lender and Pakistan to renew the country's bailout programme.

The announcement comes as Pakistan's economy teeters on the verge of a financial disaster, with foreign exchange reserves rapidly depleting and the Pakistani rupee trading at all-time lows versus the US dollar.

"Discussions between the IMF staff and the authorities on policies to strengthen macroeconomic stability in the following year continue, and significant progress has been achieved on the FY23 budget," said Esther Perez Ruiz of the International Monetary Fund.

This month, Pakistan announced a 9.5 trillion rupee ($47 billion) budget for 2022-23, aimed at stringent fiscal contraction in order to persuade the IMF to resume much-needed bailout payments.

However, the lender later stated that additional actions were required to bring Pakistan's budget into compliance with the IMF's major objectives.

On Tuesday night, the two sides met to discuss macroeconomic and budgetary targets, according to a Pakistani official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to Reuters.

According to them, the meetings went "good," and Pakistan now expects an initial memorandum on macroeconomic and financial targets in the coming days, followed by a staff level agreement.

Pakistan began a 39-month, $6 billion IMF programme in 2019, but barely half of the money have been disbursed so far due to Islamabad's inability to meet its targets.

The last tranche was disbursed in February, with the next scheduled for March after a review, but the government of deposed Prime Minister Imran Khan imposed exorbitant fuel price controls, throwing fiscal plans and the programme off course.

Pakistan's new administration has eliminated pricing controls, causing petrol prices to skyrocket by up to 70% in just three weeks.


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