Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has reached out to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) governments to discuss Pakistan’s arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to Geo News.
This development comes just a week after the top military official spoke with US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, for Washington’s help in an early release of funds from the crises lender.
Earlier this month, the lender reached a staff-level agreement with Pakistan for the loan in question. However, the loan tranche, which is part of the IMF’s $6 billion Extended Fund Facility for Pakistan, will not be released until the agency’s executive board gives final clearance.
It is noteworthy that the global lender is currently ‘on vacation’ and its board will not meet again until later this month. The IMF has not given any specific date for announcing the loan approval for Pakistan.
Pakistan and the IMF managed to make headway on budget measures for 2022-23 in June, with Islamabad committing to more policy initiatives to revive the stalled EFF. The agreement resulted in the introduction of the highly controversial ‘super tax’ on 13 industries, including cement, steel, sugar, oil and gas, fertilizer, LNG, textile, banking, automotive, drinks, chemicals, and tobacco.
Pakistan began the 39-month, $6 billion IMF program in 2019, but less than half of the funds have been released so far due to the former’s inability to meet benchmarks.