Millennium Post

IMF team reviewing Pakistan's performance under Extended Fund Facility

Islamabad: An IMF mission is in Pakistan to review the cash-strapped country's quarterly performance under its USD 6 billion bailout package, which was finalised this year, according to a media report.

The successful completion of the first review would enable Pakistan to draw about USD 453 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in December, taking the total amount drawn to almost USD 1.44 billion, The Dawn newspaper reported on Monday.

The IMF in July had approved a USD 6 billion Extended Fund Facility loan over a period of three years for Pakistan, aimed at returning sustainable growth to the country's fragile economy and improve the standards of living.

The loan was in response to the Pakistan finance ministry approaching the IMF in August 2018 for a bailout package when the Imran Khan government took over.

The deal was the 22nd bailout package since Pakistan became member of the IMF in 1950.

The IMF team in Pakistan is led by Mission Chief to Pakistan Ernesto Ramirez-Rigo, who will hold technical discussions with senior officials from all concerned ministries and departments, during his stay here till November 7, the Dawn report said.

Authorities in Islamabad said they were comfortable with the overall progress made under the the fund programme as revenue shortfall had been compensated by higher-than estimated non-tax revenues supported by licence fees provided by telecom companies, the report said.

They said the government had put on hold issuance of fresh guarantees to the power and gas companies to stay within the IMF benchmarks despite pressing needs, the report added.

In July, the IMF had said Pakistan was facing "significant economic challenges" due to weak and unbalanced growth and that its economy is at a critical juncture where it needs an ambitious and bold set of reforms.

At the time, Pakistan had a currency reserve of less than USD 8 billion, enough only to cover 1.7 months of imports.

Other than the IMF, Pakistan has secured substantial bailout packages from Qatar, China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

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