The International Monetary Fund (IMF) held discussions with officials from the Government of Pakistan on the state of the country’s economy, the reforms agenda, and its external financing needs.
A virtual meeting was held between the Managing Director (MD) of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva; the Minister for Finance, Hammad Azhar; and the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Dr. Reza Baqir.
The IMF MD acknowledged the need for the welfare of the people of Pakistan to be the focus of all the policy endeavors. Taking to Twitter after the meeting, she wrote, “I commended Pakistan’s response to the health and economic crisis, and we discussed the way forward for vital economic reforms and external financing needed to build a better future for Pakistan’s people”.
Minister Azhar’s tweet in this regard read: “Had a productive virtual meeting with IMF MD on state of Pakistan’s economy and implementation of reforms. Grateful that she acknowledged the positive economic indicators and the need to keep the welfare of people of Pakistan as the focus of all our policy endeavours”.
The government aims to convince the IMF to show leniency on account of the ongoing third wave of the pandemic in the country.
The IMF has placed stringent conditions on Pakistan, including additional taxes of over Rs. 700 billion in the upcoming budget and an increase of Rs. 5 per unit in the electricity tariff until June 2021.
According to the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Power, Tabish Gauhar, Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed that the electricity tariff not be increased for now, but this might eventually lead to the worsening of the already massive circular debt that might cross Rs. 2.587 trillion.
While speaking to the media, the Chief of the IMF in Pakistan, Teresa Daban Sanchez, said that the Pakistani authorities and the IMF staff remain engaged and will continue to work for the next reviews and to monitor the situation in the economy to prepare for the completion of the upcoming reviews.