IMF executive board likely to meet first week of December

IMF executive board likely to meet first week of December

Islamabad: The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Executive Board expected to hold a meeting on December 7.

According to reports, the meeting will approve the staff-level agreement (SLA) with Pakistan and release the next tranche of $700 million to the country under the $3 billion standby arrangement. The caretaker government had also assured the IMF that the next general elections would be held on time.

Finance ministry officials said that $25 billion would be borrowed from friendly countries in the Gulf and China as well commercial banks to meet the external financing needs of this financial year.

Besides, they continued that China had assured Pakistan of a further loan rollover for two years.

Earlier, Pakistan and the IMF had reached staff level agreement on the first review of Stand-By Arrangement (SBA).

“IMF staff and the Pakistani authorities have reached a staff-level agreement on the first review under Pakistan’s Stand-By Arrangement (SBA), subject to approval by the IMF’s Executive Board,” the global lender said in a statement.

Upon approval, Pakistan will have access to SDR 528 million (around US$700 million), said the statement issued after visit of IMF team, led by Nathan Porter, from November 2-15, 2023, to hold discussions on the first review of SBA.

The agreement supports the authorities’ commitment to advance the planned fiscal consolidation, accelerate cost-reducing reforms in the energy sector, complete the return to a market-determined exchange rate, and pursue state-owned enterprise and governance reforms to attract investment and support job creation, while continuing to strengthen social assistance.

It is pertinent to mention here that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board in mid July had approved the Stand-by Agreement (SBA) for US$ 3 billion for Pakistan.

The staff level agreement on SBA amounting SDR2,250 million (about $3 billion or 111 percent of Pakistan’s IMF quota) was reached during the last week of June after IMF staff team led by Nathan Porter held in person and virtual meetings with the Pakistani authorities to discuss a new financing engagement for Pakistan under the arrangements.

On July 13, the fund transferred US$1.2 billion to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) out of total $3 billion under the agreement that was approved by the IMF board the previous day.

The balance amount of $1.8 billion was to be provided after two reviews that would be held in November 2023 and February 2024.