In meeting with IMF chief, PM Shehbaz urges lender to release funds

Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai

  • Last ditch efforts to revive IMF programme.
  • PM Shehbaz Sharif meets IMF chief in Paris.
  • Loan programme to end on June 30.

PARIS: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday met International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, urging the lender to unlock stalled funds as Pakistan has met all conditions.

The premier held the meeting on the sidelines of the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact being held in Paris in a bid to assure the IMF of the country’s commitment to fulfill all promises made in this regard.

The two exchanged views on the ongoing programmes and cooperation between Pakistan and IMF.

Recalling their last telephone conversation, the prime minister apprised Georgieva of Pakistan’s economic outlook.

He outlined the steps taken by his government for economic growth and stability, underscoring that all prior actions for the 9th review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) had been completed and Pakistan was fully committed to fulfilling its obligations as agreed with the fund.

The prime minister expressed the hope that the funds allocated under the EFF would be released as soon as possible.

“This would help strengthen Pakistan's ongoing efforts towards economic stabilisation and bring relief to its people,” said.

In response, Georgieva shared her institution’s perspective on the ongoing review process.

The meeting provided a useful opportunity to take stock of the progress in that context.

Pakistan has barely enough currency reserves to cover one month's imports. It had hoped to have $1.1 billion of the funds released in November — but the IMF has insisted on a number of conditions before it makes any more disbursements.

With time for only one last IMF board review before the end of the $6.5 billion EFF, Pakistan was expected to present a budget in line with programme objectives, restore the proper functioning of the FX market, and close the $6 billion gap ahead of the board review.