Pakistan, IMF Talks Conclude Without Staff-Level Agreement
The recent talks between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have concluded, but the two sides have not yet reached a formal agreement. According to sources, the talks have seen substantial progress and a large extent of consensus has been achieved between the two parties. The IMF is expected to release a statement soon, and while it was initially speculated that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar would hold a press conference to discuss the progress of the talks, it appears that the IMF will issue the statement first.
The draft of the Memorandum for Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP) has been shared with Pakistan as part of the talks. The IMF team arrived in Islamabad on January 31 to restart discussions on the stalled 9th review of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). Pakistan entered into a $7 billion IMF program in 2019, which was increased from its original amount of $6 billion the following year. The successful completion of the ninth review would unlock a loan tranche of $1.18 billion and would also open the door for financial assistance from other friendly countries.
Pakistan had previously been reluctant to accept the prior actions demanded by the IMF, which caused delays in the talks for the ninth review. However, due to the country’s rapidly declining reserves, which now stand at a mere $2.9 billion, Pakistan was forced to agree to the IMF’s prior actions in order to secure financial support. The conclusion of the recent talks marks an important step forward in the relationship between Pakistan and the IMF, and the successful completion of the ninth review could have significant positive effects on Pakistan’s economy.
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