Today, crucial negotiations between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) began in Doha to revive the stalled $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme.
On Wednesday, the Finance Ministry tweeted, “Talks with the IMF Mission begun today.”
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Minister of State Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha, Finance Secretary Hamed Yaqoob Shaikh, Acting Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Dr Murtaza Syed, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Asim Ahmad, and senior officers from the Finance Division, according to the ministry, will participate virtually in the talks.
The IMF mission will discuss measures with Pakistani officials in order to advance the EFF’s seventh review. Pakistan has also asked the IMF to extend the EFF agreement to June 2023 as an indication of its determination to address current issues and meet programme goals. It has also requested a $2 billion increase in cash from the international lender.
Experts say that reviving the IMF programme is critical for the country’s economic stability, which has been harmed by depleted foreign exchange reserves and a mounting import bill.
The IMF has stated that immediate action is required to reduce gasoline subsidies in the country, and that this issue has hindered discussions for the fund’s seventh assessment. The newly established government is hesitant to do so, presumably due to concerns that eliminating subsidies will add to the already high rate of inflation and would be politically unpopular.