IMF Program to be Restored Within 2 Days: Miftah

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail Monday said that the stalled International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout program would be revived within the next few days.

While speaking to the media in Islamabad, the minister said “I am quite hopeful that the IMF program will be restored within a day or two.”

Pakistan has been struggling to reach a staff-level agreement for the revival of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the IMF. The global lender has reservations over the Rs. 9.5 trillion expenditures projected by the authorities for the next fiscal year.

IMF and Pakistani authorities are also divided over the personal income tax slabs and tax rates. The government has considerably raised fuel prices since May 27 to do away with fuel subsidies in an attempt to reduce the fiscal deficit and secure support from IMF, however, it remains unsuccessful.

The government has also considerably raised the electricity and gas tariff in recent weeks. The uncertainty over the IMF deal means Pakistan’s central bank reserves are currently at their lowest level since November 22, 2019.

The dwindling reserves also continue to put pressure on the rupee with the US Dollar closing at a record high Rs. 209.96 in the interbank today.

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