PM Says That All Conditions Have Been Fulfilled, But IMF Wants “More Guarantees”
April 16, 2023 / By Zunair Tahir / Pakistan News
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has no reason to put off approving the staff-level agreement after receiving financial guarantees from allies, according to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday. However, a Fund official said the lender was looking forward to receiving “necessary financing assurances” as soon as possible to clear the way for the conclusion of the ninth review of the $7 billion program.
IMF Mission Chief to Pakistan Nathan Porter made the announcement a day after Finance Minister Ishaq Dar confirmed $1 billion in bilateral financial help for Pakistan, which is thought to be the last preparatory action for staff-level agreement with the international lender.
PM Shehbaz remarked, “The IMF had set a condition for us to arrange funds from friendly countries before it signed a staff-level agreement with us,” while speaking at an event in Lahore. We worked hard for one and a half months to achieve the IMF’s final need by first getting a rollover of $2 billion from China and then $3 billion from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The premier complimented Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Ishaq Dar for their “hard work” in this respect and stated that “the new army chief made efforts to acquire the funds from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”
He expressed the resolve to overcome these obstacles by reaching an agreement with the international lender as quickly as possible, despite the fact that his administration “inherited an IMF agreement that was in tatters.” There was “no alternative,” he said, therefore the government had to accept the strict requirements established by the IMF.
The Fund, meantime, praised Pakistan’s receipt of bilateral aid but pressed Islamabad for more guarantees to finalise the agreement.
The agreement to retain strong policies and find adequate funding to assist the implementation efforts was reached during talks between the Pakistani delegation and IMF employees and management, the statement added.
In contrast to an earlier government declaration that the pledge of $2 billion from Saudi Arabia and $1 billion from the UAE would address the issue, an official source noted that the Fund is still waiting for assurances from friendly nations. In addition, Mr. Dar said that the State Bank had received the final payment of $300 million from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China on its $1.3 billion loan.
Kristalina Georgieva, the chief of the IMF, had hoped Pakistan would finish its current plan.
At a news conference in Washington, she stated, “My hope is that with the goodwill of everyone and with the implementation of what has already been agreed upon by the Pakistani authorities, we can complete our current program successfully.”
Separately, as part of the IMF/World Bank spring meetings, Mr. Dar conducted a virtual discussion with Jin Liqu, the president of the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB), through a video link.
According to a formal statement, Mr. Dar informed the AIIB president on the government’s economic objectives and reforms for sustainable development while also sharing the present economic prognosis.
According to the release, the AIIB president praised the bank’s partnership with Pakistan.
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