The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has again underscored the pressing need for timely financial support from external partners for Pakistan’s economic policy efforts.
“A Staff Level Agreement (SLA) will follow once the few remaining points are closed. I can also say that financing assurances, right, what we’re looking for here are a standard feature of all IMF programs,” Julie Kozack, Director of Communications at the IMF said during a press briefing on Thursday.
She said Pakistan’s economy faces multiple challenges including slowing growth, high inflation, and large financing needs. And of course, this is all coming on the back of devastating floods.
Discussions are ongoing between IMF staff and the Pakistani authorities toward an SLA on policies to complete the ninth review of Pakistan’s extended Fund Facility, the authorities are committed to implementing the necessary reforms. They’ve started to implement decisive actions to stabilize the economy and restore confidence.
While providing space to accommodate the needs related to the floods, including through an increase in social assistance through the Benazir Income Support Program, which is aimed at the most vulnerable, she added.
She said, “Timely financial assistance from external partners will be critical to support the authorities’ policy efforts and ensure the successful completion of the review”.
In response to what the IMF needs from creditors in order to help Pakistan, Julie said, “… at this point, ensuring that there is sufficient financing to support the authorities is the paramount priority. A Staff Level Agreement will follow once the few remaining points are closed. I can also say that financing assurances, right, what we’re looking for here are a standard feature of all IMF programs”.
The communications director further noted that aside from support provided by the IMF, Pakistan’s EFF-supported program receives financing from other multilateral institutions, including the World Bank, the ADB, and the AIIB, and bilateral partners, notably China, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
“So, we do need to ensure that we have those financing assurances in place in order for us to be able to take the next step with Pakistan,” she concluded.