Sunday Jan 08, 2023
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had a "constructive" call with International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva regarding the International Conference on Resilient Pakistan to be held in Geneva, said the global lender's spokesperson on Sunday.
On the call with the prime minister, Georgieva once again expressed her sympathy to those directly affected by the floods and supported Pakistan’s efforts to build a more resilient recovery, added the statement.
"The IMF delegation is expected to meet with Finance Minister Dar on the sidelines of the Geneva conference to discuss outstanding issues and the path forward," it said.
PM Shehbaz will lead a high-level delegation to Switzerland where he will co-host the conference along with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, starting on January 9. The conference will help mobilise international support to help Pakistan's people and government to recover more effectively from the devastation caused by the recent floods.
Earlier this week, the IMF chief declined PM Shehbaz's invitation to attend the conference, however, showed a willingness to attend the moot virtually. She explained that as the IMF board meetings had been prefixed for January 9-10, “she will only be able to join the conference virtually”.
The IMF chief thanked for the invitation but explained that as the IMF board meetings had been prefixed for January 9-10, “she will only be able to join the conference virtually”, a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said.
“Georgieva called PM Shehbaz over the telephone and expressed her deep sympathy and concern on the human and material losses due to the recent floods and reiterated her commitment to helping Pakistan in this difficult period,” it added.
The premier thanked the managing director for her concern about the fallout of the floods and assured her that Pakistan is “committed to successfully completing the ongoing IMF programme”.
PM Shehbaz said an IMF delegation was slated to visit Pakistan in two-three days to “take up and finalise” the ninth review of the economy to unstick a direly needed bailout tranche of $1.1 billion.
“I spoke to Georgieva and emphasised that Pakistan wishes to complete the IMF bailout programme,” the premier said during an address at the inauguration ceremony of Hazara Electric Supply Company (HAZECO).
“I urged her to soften the terms of the deal because the masses cannot be burdened anymore. We have slapped taxes on the rich segments of society," the premier said.
"I also pleaded with her to dispatch a delegation for the 9th review under the loan programme and she replied that IMF officials are scheduled to visit Pakistan in over a couple of days [2-3] days."
The development came as Pakistan strives to allay fears that the country is inching towards a default, as a stalemate over the ninth review of the IMF bailout programme continues owing to differences between the two sides.
This impasse has resulted in the holdup of a $1.1 billion tranche, which could have been released somewhere in November.