Pakistan to start virtual dialogue on pending review with IMF from Monday

IMF - The News Today - TNT

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has shared its plan to convince the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to complete the pending ninth review, Pakistan shared the basic contours of negotiations with the high-ups of the multilateral institution with the expectation that both sides will kick-start virtual talks from next week.

In this connection an email has been sent to the IMF and the Government is waiting for their response from the international lender, an official of Finance Division said.

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While virtual talks are expected to kick start from Monday it is not yet known whether the upcoming talks will be formal or informal in nature. If formal talks begin, it will be a significant development as informal talks had continued during the last two and a half months.

An official of Finance Division also confirmed that the government has shared the basic contours of the upcoming round of talks with the IMF Mission Chief Nathan Porter.

It was learnt that the two sides discussed matters regarding:

Fiscal consolidation, including taking additional taxation measures and curtailing expenditures to restrict the budget deficit within the envisaged limit agreed with the IMF
Taking all required corrective measures to devise a sustainable roadmap for cash bleeding energy sector such as curtailing flow and stocks of the circular debt, hiking tariffs of electricity and gas sectors

The official said that the IMF’s mission chief informed Pakistan about their readiness to hold virtual talks next week, and the review mission could also visit Pakistan if needed.

“If all thorny issues are resolved in virtual meetings, then the staff-level agreement might be struck without paying a physical visit in the next seven to 15 days,” the top official said.

The source revealed that the IMF had already communicated to Islamabad to develop an agreement on the Memorandum of Financial Policies (MEFP) for striking a staff-level agreement, Geo News reported.

“If the IMF mission paid a visit and the talks remained inconclusive, it would be more damaging to the economy,” he said, adding that Pakistan might start talks from coming Monday so that both sides can evolve a consensus on the MEFP document.

Read more: Faiz, Bajwa responsible for Pakistan’s current crisis: Nawaz Sharif

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