In fresh bid to unlock funds, Pakistan seeks PM Shehbaz-IMF chief meeting in Paris.
- An official says meeting is crucial for revival of programme.
- He says if meeting not held, “there’s no possibility” of revival.
- Ninth review has remained a far cry since November 2022.
Pakistan has asked the International Monetary Fund IMF to arrange a meeting of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on the sidelines of the upcoming New Global Financing Pact Summit being held in Paris from June 22 to 23.
Despite several attempts from the Pakistani side, hopes are diminishing for the revival of the IMF programme, which will expire on June 30.
The pending ninth review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme has remained a far cry since November 2022.
“If this request is turned down, then there will be no possibility of reviving the Fund programme under the $6.7 billion Extended Fund Facility. However, if the meeting is held and both sides achieve a breakthrough, then chances of reviving the programme will brighten,” a top official said while talking to The News on Tuesday.
The IMF sent out its review mission on January 31 to February 9, 2023, but the Staff Level Agreement (SLA) could not be signed.
The IMF placed prior action before signing the SLA, which could not be achieved to date.
Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar held virtual meetings with the IMF high-ups in April to strike a consensus but failed to break the ice between the two sides.
Then the prime minister made a telephone call to IMF MD and discussed issues for the revival of the stalled programme for one year. However, nothing substantial was achieved.
Later, IMF Resident Chief Esther Perez Ruiz had issued a statement criticising the budget 2023-24.
The Ministry of Finance had also issued a statement in its response, but both sides showed commitment to remain engaged for the conclusion of the pending ninth review.
FinMin Dar Tuesday held a virtual meeting with Britain’s Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) Andrew Mitchell.
According to an official statement issued by Ministry of Finance,
Mitchell expressed deep sorrow and grief on the loss of lives of a huge number of Pakistani citizens in the recent boat capsizing incident in Greece.
Dar expressed gratitude for receiving the condolences and voiced that illegal human trafficking has become a huge issue worldwide and needs to be curtailed at the earliest.
Mitchell acknowledged that Pakistan has been vigilant in bringing economic stability through various policy reforms. He also assured of continuous support and assistance of the British government to Pakistan.