Talks for 3rd tranche with IMF starts

By Shakeel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hold next round of talks starting from Monday (today) for the disbursement of third tranche of about $450 million under the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) finalised in May last year. The IMF delegation will perform quarterly review (from October till December) of the economy in the current fiscal year FY20.
The global moneylender will also consider the performance of various ministries and government departments, and in particular, energy and tax reforms under the current regime. The delegation will meet finance advisor Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi.
In late December, Islamabad received second tranche of $454 million from the IMF, and the global moneylender at that time declared that Pakistan’s reform programme was “on track and has started to bear fruit”.
Following the release of the second tranche, the total amount of money so far granted by the IMF under the current programme rose to $1,440m. The Fund, after completing it’s first review of Pakistan under the EFF, noted that “decisive” implementation of government policies had helped preserve economic stability in the country. In a press release, the IMF had noted that the “transition to a market-determined exchange rate has been orderly [and] inflation has started to stabilise, mitigating the impact on the most vulnerable groups of the population.” The IMF had further observed that the “authorities remain committed to expanding the social safety nets, reducing poverty, and narrowing the gender gap.”
At the same time, however, the Fund had warned that “risks remain elevated”. The press release had quoted IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair David Lipton as saying: “Strong ownership and steadfast reform implementation are critical to entrench macroeconomic stability and support robust and balanced growth.”