Dar reaffirms commitment to completing IMF programme

GENEVA: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar reiterated his commitment to completing a programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a meeting on the sidelines of a climate conference in Geneva on Monday, the finance minis-try said in a statement.
Dar and IMF officials “discussed challenges to regional economies in the wake of climate change”, according to the statement following the meeting’s conclusion. “[The] finance minister reiterated the commitment to complete the Fund program,” it added.
“It was a good meeting but I do not have any statements to make,” Athanasios Arvanitis, deputy director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, told media immediately after it ended.
The IMF has yet to approve the release of $1.1 billion originally due to be disbursed in November last year, leaving Pa-kistan with only enough foreign exchange reserves to cover one month’s imports.
French President Emmanuel Macron said at the conference that Paris was ready to support Pakistan in its talks with financial institutions.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (UNSG) earlier called for sweeping reform of the international financial sys-tem to allow countries vulnerable to climate calamities to receive adequate funding from richer nations.
During his earlier address to the climate conference, Dar said Pakistan was committed to its international obligations.
He asserted that the country was on track with its macroeconomic fiscal agenda which he said focused on increasing revenues, spending on social sector programmes, decreasing expenditure and creating more fiscal space for recon-struction and rehabilitation.
“Right now, Pakistan is facing challenges on account of additional outlays, incurred and projected for the flood-related rescue and rehabilitation needs.
“Pakistan is carrying out the necessary fiscal reforms but we believe we urgently need short-term assistance as we navigate a number of challenges,” Dar highlighted.
“Our urgent expectation is not merely a commitment for resources but we are also looking at our own budget inflows and assistance during the remainder of the current fiscal year in order for the government to continue to provide re-lief,” he said.
During his press conference with the UNSG, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also expressed Pakistan’s commitment to complete the IMF programme.
At the same time, however, he wondered how the Fund could expect him to pass on the burden of inflation to the citizenry that was still reeling from floods.