Remarkable progress made in fresh loan talks: IMF

ISLAMABAD  -  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that significant progress was achieved during the talks with Pakistan towards reaching a staff-level agreement for an extended fund facility.

“At the request of the Pakistani authorities, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Nathan Porter, the IMF’s Mission Chief to Pakistan, visited Islamabad during May 13-23, 2024, to discuss Pakistan’s plans for a home-grown economic program that can be supported under the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF),” the IMF said in a statement after completing the visit to Pakistan.

At the end of the visit, Mr. Porter said, “Building on the economic stabilization achieved through the successful completion of the 2023 Stand-by Arrangement, the IMF and the Pakistani authorities made significant progress towards reaching a Staff Level Agreement (SLA) on a comprehensive economic policy and reform program that can be supported under an Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

“The authorities’ reform program aims to move Pakistan from economic stabilization to strong, inclusive, and resilient growth. To achieve this, the authorities plan to continue to strengthen public finances to reduce vulnerabilities by improving domestic revenue mobilization through fairer taxation while scaling up spending for human capital, social protection, and climate resilience; secure energy sector viability, including reforms to reduce the high cost of energy; continue progress towards low and stable inflation by appropriate monetary and exchange rate policies; improve public service provision through state-owned enterprise (SOE) restructuring and privatization; and promote private sector development, by securing a level-playing field for investment and stronger governance.

“The mission and the authorities will continue policy discussions virtually over the coming days aiming to finalize discussions, including the financial support needed to underpin the authorities’ reform efforts from the IMF and Pakistan’s bilateral and multilateral partners.

“The IMF team is grateful to the Pakistani authorities, private sector, and development partners for fruitful discussions and their hospitality throughout this mission.”

Pakistan has recently completed the IMF’s standby-programme worth $3 billion and the country had requested for a fresh loan programme under the EFF. This would be Pakistan’s 24th IMF programme.

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