‘Mini-bud­get’ planned as IMF, govt still dif­fer

The Miracle - - Pakistan - Source: dawn.com

IS­LAM­ABAD: Prepa­ra­tions are on for in­tro­duc­ing the third money bill of this fis­cal year, while dis­cus­sions between the govern­ment and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund have been ramped up. Re­ports fol­low­ing a late evening hour­long video con­fer­ence between the govern­ment and the IMF sug­gest that dif­fer­ences per­sist between both sides over a broad spec­trum of is­sues. Fi­nance Min­is­ter Asad Umar an­nounced his in­ten­tion to bring a new money bill when he ap­peared be­fore a par­lia­men­tary panel on Wednes­day morn­ing along with State Bank Gover­nor Tariq Ba­jwa. In­formed sources said that dur­ing the video con­fer­ence, the govern­ment and the Fund could not agree on the tim­ing and pace of the fis­cal ad­just­ment and struc­tural re­forms. They said the IMF mis­sion raised ques­tions over Pak­istan’s mem­o­ran­dum of eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial poli­cies (MEFP) sub­mit­ted last week and the fi­nance min­is­ter re­sponded. The ques­tions re­lated to the pro­posed fis­cal ad­just­ment, en­ergy pric­ing, mon­e­tary and ex­change rate pol­icy and struc­tural re­forms con­tained in the govern­ment’s MEFP, an in­formed source told Dawn, adding that the IMF team had reser­va­tions over vi­a­bil­ity of the govern­ment’s pro­pos­als in all ar­eas, al­though the de­gree of dis­agree­ment var­ied. The mis­sion also raised ques­tions over the way for­ward on the state-owned en­ti­ties. Sep­a­rately, the IMF’s res­i­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Pak­istan con­firmed in a short mes­sage to Dawn that the plan re­ferred to by the fi­nance min­is­ter had been re­ceived by them. “The Pak­istani au­thor­i­ties have shared with us a doc­u­ment called ‘Pak­istan: Sta­bil­i­sa­tion and Medium-Term Sus­tain­able Growth Frame­work’,” she said via text mes­sage from Wash­ing­ton DC where she is these days.“We are in the process of re­view­ing this par­tic­u­lar doc­u­ment and the ob­jec­tive con­tin­ues to be to achieve un­der­stand­ing on poli­cies and re­forms that could be the base of a staff-level agree­ment.”

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