IMF defers review of tranche for Pakistan

ISLAMABAD - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has postponed to consider 6th review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Pakistan during its executive board meeting scheduled for January 12 as Islamabad is yet to complete all prior actions.

However, the Fund did not specify any further date for the review.

“Yes, the IMF will not take up Pakistan’s case on January 12 as it gives time for completing prior actions,” said Muzzammil Aslam, spokesperson to Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, while talking to The Nation here yesterday.

He further said that the IMF executive board is available for four days in a week so it can take up Pakistan’s case anytime.

Talking about the prior actions, Muzzammil informed that the government would complete all these actions in the upcoming week. “The IMF board will meet on the next day whenever Pakistan completes all prior action,” he said and added that parliament would complete the legislation of two important bills including Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021 and State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021 next week.

Ministry spokesman says the Fund will take up review after Pakistan completes all prior actions

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on December 30 had introduced the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021 and State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021 in the National Assembly to complete the prior actions of the IMF. Later, the government last week had also presented the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021 in Senate.

The Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue would finalize the recommendations of the Senators on the mini budget on coming Monday or Tuesday. Later, on the next or same day, Senate would send its recommendations to the National Assembly. The Constitution doesn’t bind National Assembly to accept these recommendations.

Officials informed that the National Assembly is all set to approve the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021 in the next week. However, the approval of State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021 might take some time due to the lengthy process.

The IMF had set five prior actions for Pakistan included mini-budget before approving the loan tranche of slightly above $1 billion. Five prior actions included withdrawal of sales tax exemptions through supplementary bill (mini budget), approval of SBP amendment bill from the parliament, increasing petroleum levy by Rs4 per litre per month so that it reaches Rs30 per litre, audit report of Covid-19 expenditures and Pakistan would provide the details of the beneficial owners of the vaccine supplying companies.

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