Finance Ministry optimistic of successful conduct of 11th review of IMF Programme
MIAN ARSHAD ISLAMABAD—The Finance Ministry is optimal optimistic for successful conclusion of the ongoing talks for 11th review of extended funds facility (EFF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The talks kicked off in Dubai from May 02 and will conclude today (Wednesday). Secretary Finance Dr. Waqar Masood along with Chairman FBR Nisar Muhammad Khan, Governor State Bank Ashraf Wathra is leading Pakistani delegation in technical level. However, Finance Ministry is not clear whether Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will join the policy level phase of talks with IMF or not. A well placed official source at Finance Ministry told Pakistan Observer here on Monday that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was neck bound busy here in hours’ long deliberations with stakeholders on Panama Leaks phase one and two as well as upcoming Dubai Leaks.
“Therefore, it is quite certain that Finance Minister will join the talks with IMF on final stage only for few hours and his possible visit to Dubai will not be more than one day and perhaps only for signing the agreement as well as for holding press conference with representative of IMF over successful conclusion of talks” the source added. However, it has been normal practice in the past that Finance Minister used to announce the successful conclusion of talks with IMF over EFF review in a press conference with IMF representative either in Dubai or in Islamabad in the past. The source said that major focus of the government in current round of talks with IMF was on finalization of federal and provincial budgets for the fiscal year 2016-17. In this regard, Finance Ministry had shared budget strategy paper for 2016-17 with the IMF.
The Finance Ministry is at ease with most of the benchmarks and performance indicators, except for the setback to the privatisation agenda that has been a major concern for the IMF. The govt also needs to collect Rs 760bn revenue in the final two months of the fiscal year 2015-16 to achieve the revenue collection target. “Furthermore, enhanced volume of foreign exchange reserves, confidence reposed by international investment organizations in economic positive economic indicators as well as keen interests shown by Chinese and other countries’ investors in recent investment conferences may be possible supportive tools for Pakistani team lead by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the talks with IMF in Dubai” the source added.
“With the successful conduct of this review, Pakistan will be in a position to ensure the international financial institutions about the improvement in economic profile which will definitely pave way for flux of international investment in the country” the source observed. The Finance Ministry is of the view that Pakistan successfully conducted record ten reviews with the IMF though in the past governments could not go beyond two reviews and it became possible just because of the hectic reforms process that the government had religiously implemented, yielding positive results.
Thus the 11th review with full confidence as Pakistan had fulfilled all its obligations and now boasted of a stable economy. Pakistan ’s economy was held in esteem by international rating agencies, and in fact Moody’s had already enhanced Pakistan ’s economic outlook from stable to positive as well as Pakistan ’s continued struggle for elimination of terrorism and said peace and security would ultimately benefit the economy.
An Extended Fund Facility with IMF provides assistance in support of comprehensive programs that include policies of the scope and character required to correct structural imbalances over an extended period. It has a comparatively longer repayment period of 4½–10 years, with repayments in twelve equal semi-annual instalments. Pakistan entered into an extended fund facility (EFF) program with IMF on September 4, 2013. It is a 36month extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for $6.64 billion, 425 percent of quota). First tranche $544.5 million, 34.8 percent of quota) became available on September 6, 2013, and the remainder would be evenly phased thereafter subject to quarterly reviews.