'No urgent need for IMF money

ISLAMABAD (Online) - Pakistan was no more in dire need of urgent financing from International Monetary Fund as forex reserves were sufficient to make external payments due by end of March. Sources close to Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh told Online on Tuesday that Pakistan was progressing towards implementation of economic reforms committed with the International Monetary Fund. However, there was no urgency to seek immediate release of next tranche under the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) loan programme of the International Monetary Fund, the sources added. According to the sources, International Monetary Fund has appreciated steps that the government had taken in line with the agreed reforms including new taxation measures through Presidential Ordinances. We havent yet received the Letter of Comfort (LOC) of the International Monetary Fund after latest taxation measures, the sources said adding, The IMF was most likely to issue it very soon. To a question, the sources said, the government was struggling with the economic difficulties. We would certainly subsidize petroleum prices in the wake of international crude oils hike but only after having enough fiscal space required for this measure, the sources added. According to the sources, the government could not undermine its political compulsions to share the burden of price hike with the public. But the politics cannot prevail overall economic decisions, the sources added. The sources were of the view that Pakistan needed to maintain a certain level of confidence with the International Monetary Fund since the Funds viewpoint always prompts not only investors mood but also the sentiment of bilateral as well as multilateral financiers. Therefore healthy engagement with the International Monetary Fund was to the advantage of Pakistan in addition to foreign currency inflows. Elaborating the state of the economy, the sources said, foreign exchange reserves reaching the record high level, encouraging trend in exports, and constantly rising remittances have enabled Pakistan to manage its external payments on its own for the time being at least.

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