Sigh of relief for Pakistan as IMF revives bailout programme after months-long efforts

After months-long hectic efforts, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board Monday approved the seventh and eighth review of the stalled $6 billion Pakistan programme, announced Finance Minister Miftah Ismail. 

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail announced the development on his Twitter handle saying: “Alhamdolillah the IMF board has approved the revival of our EFF programme. We should now be getting the seventh and eighth tranche of $1.17 billion.”


Sigh of relief for Pakistan as IMF revives bailout programme after months-long efforts

 


The finance minister also thanked Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif "for taking so many tough decisions and saving Pakistan from the default". 

"I congratulate the nation,” said the finance minister. 

 

Pakistan entered the programme with the Fund in 2019, however, Islamabad struggled to keep targets on track due to which only half the funds had been disbursed.

The cash-strapped nation received that last disbursement in February and the next tranche was to follow after review in March, but the government of ousted prime minister Imran Khan slashed the petroleum prices by massively giving subsidies to the nation which threw fiscal targets and the programme off track.

However, after months-long efforts of the coalition government — that came into power in April — Pakistan reached the staff-level agreement with the Washington-based lender in July after completing all prior conditions. The executive board today reviewed the progress and decided to resume the programme and approved the seventh and eighth loan tranches.

Pakistan is now likely to receive a $1.17 billion loan tranche from Fund within six days.

However, the global lender has not confirmed the development yet.

Struggle to clinch IMF deal

The uncertainty surrounding the IMF programme has been taking a toll on the economy of Pakistan as the financial markets have been awaiting the final decision for the last several months.

While the previous PTI-led government breached the conditions agreed with the Fund to provide relief to the nation; the coalition government took a “tough decision” to convince the board to resume the stalled programme.

However, the intense political atmosphere of Pakistan kept the uncertainty regarding the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme’s revival hanging on the leadership and markets.

Last week, just days before the scheduled executive board meeting. The PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government allegedly refused to implement the terms of the IMF agreement in a letter as part of “a ploy to plunge Pakistan into a flood of economic crisis”.

In a letter written to Miftah, Provincial Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said that the KP administration might find it difficult to run a provincial surplus this year in view of flood-related damages.

It should be noted that ensuring surpluses by provinces this fiscal year is a key requirement previously agreed upon to revive the IMF programme.

The coalition government was once again worried after the development as it might have jeopardised Islamabad’s position during the executive board’s meeting. The ruling parties also criticised the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for “playing politics” after it allegedly refused to implement the terms of the IMF agreement in a letter as part of “a ploy to plunge Pakistan into a flood of economic crisis”.

Later, it was learnt that former minister Shaukat Tarin allegedly asked Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to withdraw from the International IMF deal.

The revelations came to the fore in an audio leak earlier today where the ex-finance minister could be heard directing Punjab Finance Minister Mohsin Leghari and Jhagra to cite recent floods as a core reason for withdrawing from the deal.

After the IMF board took its decision, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that the global lender has approved the programme despite PTI's treacherous act.

 

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