Tuesday Nov 09 2021

Revival of IMF's loan to Pakistan rests on clearance from two departments: report

The IMFs Washington headquarters. Photo: AFP
The IMF's Washington headquarters. Photo: AFP

  • Stamped clearances from Strategy, Policy and Review Department and the Legal Department will ensure revival of loan program. 
  • IMF’s Strategy, Policy, and Review Department (SPRD) is known as a policeman within Fund's staff. 
  • Pakistan's incumbent State Bank Governor Dr Reza Baqir has served in the Strategy, Policy, and Review Department. 

ISLAMABAD: The revival of the stalled $6bn International Monetary Fund (IMF) program for Pakistan hinges upon stamped clearance of the IMF’s two departments known as Strategy, Policy and Review Department and Legal Department. 

Top official sources told The News in background discussions that the IMF’s Executive Board grants approval after getting clearance of staff-level agreement and these two important departments.

The IMF’s Strategy, Policy, and Review Department (SPRD) is known as a policeman within the Fund's staff. Pakistan’s incumbent Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Dr Reza Baqir, had also served in this department during his career working in the IMF. 

As per the report, Baqir knew how the SPRD and Legal Department deal with cases before sending them to the IMF's Executive Board.

“There is no need for a telephone call to the IMF’s managing director,” Adviser to PM on Finance Shaukat Tarin had said in a brief chat on Monday when asked whether there was a need for PM Imran Khan to call the IMF’s managing director.

“Now the ball is in the court of the IMF and the two departments are currently scrutinising the details before granting stamped approval, after which the staff-level agreement will be made public and placed before the IMF’s Executive Board for approving the sixth review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF),” top official sources confirmed while talking to The News here on Monday.

Now, the outstanding issue is beyond the jurisdiction of the IMF staff and the mission chief working in Pakistan on behalf of the IMF. As per the report, all issues by the two have been reported and everyone is just waiting for the Executive Board's approval. If these two departments did not clear the loan, the approval of the sixth review may take a longer period to reach a settlement. 

It is relevant to mention here that the Adviser to the PM on Finance Shaukat Tarin had publicly stated last week that the IMF’s agreement was expected in one or two days but last week passed without achieving any success. 

Now both the IMF and the Ministry of Finance are preferring to remain silent, knowing that both sides had done their share of work and the IMF staff reported back all the details and is just waiting for these two departments to issue the clearance. 

Originally published in The News