The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said it has reached a staff-level agreement with Pakistan on “policies and reforms” to complete the second review of the $6 billion (approximately Rs 41,314 crore) bailout package, Dawn reported. The financial aid is an attempt to help the country bail out its slowing economy, improve public finances and reduce debt.
In July, the International Monetary Fund’s executive board had approved a $6-billion loan to be disbursed over a period of three years to Pakistan. The board had allowed for an immediate disbursement of SDR716 million [or about US$1 billion, INR 7,218 crore]. The remaining amount was to be phased over the duration of the program, subject to four quarterly reviews and four semi-annual reviews.
The announcement was made by IMF’s Mission Chief for Pakistan Ernesto Ramirez Rig after holding a series of engagements with Pakistan’s Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shaikh, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir and Finance Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch over the past two weeks.
The agreement now awaits the approval of the International Monetary Fund Executive Board, which is expected in April. Once the review of the deal is completed, the organisation will make disbursement of around USD 450 million.
Pakistan had reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund for the $6-billion bailout package in May.
Pakistani authorities did not divulge the exact details of the policies and reforms needed to complete the second review of the agreement, Dawn reported. However, the two sides have agreed to consider providing “some breathing space” before further adjustment keeping in mind the soaring inflation levels in Pakistan.
Discussions were held between February 3 and 13 between IMF and the Pakistan government in Islamabad, wherein the mission had recorded “considerable progress”.“All end-December performance criteria were met, and structural benchmarks have been completed,” the mission had said in a statement.
Pakistan has so far received billions in financial aid packages from friendly countries like China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Last year, Pakistan also secured a bailout package of $3 billion from Qatar.