Islamabad January 6
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva on Thursday to discuss further disbursement of aid to the cash-strapped country.
The contact comes four days before an expected face-to-face meeting between the prime minister and the head of the IMF on the sidelines of a Geneva conference for flood victims.
Addressing a business gathering here on Friday, Sharif confirmed that he had received a phone call from IMF Managing Director Georgieva and that they had discussed the already committed loan.
“We have told the IMF that we cannot bear more of our collective burden. He also urged that the IMF should send its delegation to Pakistan for discussions, adding that the delegation is expected to arrive in the next three to four days to discuss the issues.
The global lender has refused to release a new tranche of an already agreed loan because Pakistan did not honor its promises when it recovered a $6 billion loan that had been frozen last year.
Prime Minister Sharif relaxed his demand for electricity tariff hike to compensate for the deviation of about 500 billion rupees from the annual circular debt management plan.
They remain major hurdles to gain an initial understanding of the IMF’s staff-level visit to Pakistan.
“However, The government is ready to levy flood and wind income tax on commercial banks,” sources said.
There was also a decision on the part of Pakistan to raise energy prices in the future against any further deviation.
Pakistan and the IMF held one round of talks on November 18 last year, but failed to finalize a timetable for official talks on the delayed ninth review.
In August last year, the IMF board approved the seventh and eighth reviews of Pakistan’s bailout program, authorizing the release of more than $1.1 billion.
A much-needed bailout from the IMF has helped Pakistan bounce back from near-deadlock amid political uncertainty and floods that have left more than 33 million people homeless.
With the economy under pressure, Premier Li Keqiang asked for Beijing’s help during meetings with the Chinese chief of defense and the Saudi defense minister in Riyadh.
The contacts were made as official foreign exchange reserves fell to $5.6 billion.
In what appears to be an alternative to the IMF; Finance Minister Ishaq Dar expressed hope for a second $3 billion bailout from Saudi Arabia within days, vowing to raise money by selling distressed assets. – Lack of foreign reserves.
But Saudi financial aid does not solve the problem permanently, so it can only delay the original form.
The finance minister said the government is committed to the IMF program.
But at the same time, he said, “We will not take measures that will increase the burden on the common man.” The IMF had earlier committed another Rs 500 billion to end the cyclical debt; to increase energy prices; to impose new taxes; It has earlier called for the rupee to achieve its real value and to achieve the original budget surplus targets without including the flood-related expenditure. This will fuel inflation, which stands at 25 percent, the Express Tribune reported.
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