IMF team meets Imran Khan ahead of board meeting

A sign is seen outside the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, DC in this file photo taken on April 15, 2020.  - AFP
A sign is seen outside the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, DC in this file photo taken on April 15, 2020. – AFP

Days ahead of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) executive board meeting to review and possibly endorse a $3 billion standby arrangement (SBA) for Pakistan, a delegation from the global lender visited the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in Lahore. (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. ,

According to senior sources, PTI Vice President Shah Mehmood Qureshi was also present during the meeting which lasted for over an hour at Khan’s Zaman Park residence.

Former Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin also briefed the IMF delegation through a video link.

It is pertinent to mention here that the IMF Executive Board will meet on July 12 to review the SBA for Pakistan.

The global lender announced on June 30 that the cash-strapped country and the IMF have reached the long-awaited employee-level agreement (SLA) on the $3 billion SBA.

With skyrocketing inflation and foreign exchange reserves barely enough for a month of controlled imports, Pakistan is facing its worst economic crisis in decades, which analysts say could turn into debt default in the absence of an IMF agreement. Is.

“I am pleased to announce that the IMF team reached a staff-level agreement with the Pakistani authorities on a nine-month stand-by arrangement (SBA) in the amount of SDR 2,250 million (approximately $3 billion or 111 percent Pakistan’s IMF quota),” the IMF’s mission chief in Pakistan, Nathan Porter, said in a statement.

The $3 billion funding, spread over nine months, is more than expected for Pakistan. The country was awaiting the release of the remaining $2.5 billion from a $6.5 billion bailout package agreed in 2019.

The deal comes after a delay of eight months and provides some relief to Pakistan, which is grappling with a severe balance of payments crisis and depleting foreign exchange reserves.

‘PTI welcomes SBA ahead of elections’

Party leader Hammad Azhar said the former ruling party PTI welcomed the SBA to maintain macroeconomic stability by promoting external financing and sound policies ahead of national elections later this year and until a new government is formed.

Azhar said on Twitter that the IMF team met the PTI chairman at his residence today (Friday).

He said the meeting was attended by IMF country chief Nathan Porter, who joined virtually from Washington, and Resident Representative Esther Perez Luis.

Giving details, the former minister said the discussions revolved around the staff-level agreement that the IMF had reached with the government for the $3 billion SBA of 9 months. “In this context, we support the overall objectives and key policies.”

The PTI leader also said that he wanted to stress the importance of programs to protect the low-income segment of the population from high inflation.

The PTI considers political stability and the rule of law integral to Pakistan’s economic stability, Azhar said, adding that after free, fair and timely elections in accordance with the constitution, a new government guided by the people will initiate and engage in reforms. Long-term partnership with multilateral institutions to advance economic transformation, higher and more inclusive growth.

Earlier, Federal Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar had an important meeting with IMF Country Representative Ester Perez Luis.

In a significant development for Pakistan’s economic scenario, the delegation met the finance team of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), including its Senator Salim Mandviwala.

An official statement issued by the commerce ministry said that the purpose of the meeting, held at the minister’s residence, was to discuss the possibility of a standby agreement with Pakistan, which would have a profound impact on the country’s financial stability.

The PPP team expressed its willingness to support the IMF programme, citing broad national interests as the driving force behind its decision.

Naveed Qamar, representing the PPP finance team, acknowledged the importance of the standby agreement in addressing Pakistan’s economic concerns.

He reiterated the PPP’s commitment to work closely with the IMF to ensure the successful implementation of the programme.

The discussion between the IMF representative and the PPP finance team is seen as a positive step towards economic recovery and stability in the country.

– With additional input from the APP.

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