IMF team due in 2-3 days: PM

-Says Pakistan to complete IMF programme as talks on 9th review of $7b EFF to be held in Islamabad
-Vows to abide by terms of top multilateral lender
-Reiterates he had not anticipated extent of Imran’s destruction

By Anzal Amin

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Friday that a delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would travel to Pakistan in two to three days to finalize the ninth review of Pakistan’s $7bn Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
He made the remarks while addressing the inaugural ceremony of Hazara Electric Supply Company (HESC) in Islamabad.
Pakistan entered a $6 billion IMF programme in 2019, which was increased to $7bn last year. The programme’s ninth review, which would release $1.18bn, is currently pending. It had earlier been put off for two months due to the PML-N-led government’s unwillingness to accept certain conditions placed before it by the Fund, and the disagreements have yet to be resolved.
During his address, the premier said he had spoken with International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva last night (Thursday) regarding Pakistan’s agreements with the international money lender.
He highlighted that he assured Georgieva the current government wished to fulfil the terms of the agreement the previous government had “broken and shattered”.
He said that Pakistan would try its best to fulfil the terms of the IMF agreement but also highlighted the destruction brought by last year’s catastrophic floods.
Shehbaz said he told Georgieva that the “economic situation is in front of you, I can’t burden the common man any further […] She assured me that she understands my difficulty”.
The premier reiterated that he told the IMF official that Pakistan would try and complete the terms of the agreement.
The premier further said that he asked Georgieva to dispatch a delegation to Pakistan in order to complete the ninth review of the IMF programme. “She told me that an IMF team will arrive in Pakistan in two to three days”.
He said that he had not anticipated the extent to which PTI Chairman Imran Khan had “destroyed everything”, referring to the country’s worsening economic situation.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of Hazara Electric Supply Company (HESC) in Islamabad, Shehbaz said: “We paid a heavy price when we took over the government. We knew the economic situation was bad but I had not anticipated the extent to which that Imran Khan has completely destroyed everything.”
He lambasted Imran for “taking out the funeral” of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and for making “baseless” corruption allegations against Chinese companies.
He also criticised his predecessor for sitting idle instead of buying gas when it was available in the international market at cheaper rates.
“He (Imran) had no interest in the Pakistani people. If he did, he would have set aside political vendettas, verbal abuses and would have initiated projects for the people.”
He further said that Imran did not initiate a single project during his tenure or lay down “a single brick”.
He further termed Imran to be the “biggest hypocrite and most thankless person”, referring to the PTI leader’s statements against the country’s top institutions.
The prime minister said that it was Imran’s “misfortune” that he proved to be a failure, despite the fact that the Pakistan Army exhausted all its “powers and capabilities” in an effort to ensure that the country moves forward and develops.
Talking about the HESC, the premier said that the demand of the people of Hazara for a better electricity supply system, owned and supervised by the people, had been fulfilled.
The premier assured the attendees that the government would complete the remaining necessary arrangements for the company as soon as possible.
He thanked Minister of Power Khurram Dastgir Khan and his team for their efforts in this regard.
PM Shehbaz also announced that he had directed the authorities concerned to complete Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) projects that were left incomplete despite the availability of funds.