Pakistan Finance Minister Meets IMF Delegation To Unlock Bailout

Pakistan Finance Minister Meets IMF Delegation To Unlock Bailout

Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met the IMF delegation in Islamabad, Pakistan. (File)

Money-strapped Pakistan on Tuesday held a primary spherical of talks with the Worldwide Financial Fund (IMF) in a bid to unlock stalled funds from a $7 billion bailout to beat back financial meltdown.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met IMF Pakistan Mission Chief Nathan Porter, the finance ministry mentioned, and briefed him on the “fiscal and financial reforms and measures being taken by the federal government in several sectors”.

The IMF funding is vital for Pakistan, which has barely sufficient overseas change reserves to cowl three weeks of imports. Gas contains the majority of the import invoice.

Pakistan secured a $6 billion IMF bailout in 2019, which was topped up with one other $1 billion final yr.

The talks, to proceed by Feb. 9, are supposed to clear the IMF’s ninth evaluate of its Prolonged Fund Facility, geared toward serving to nations dealing with balance-of-payments crises.

The lender had set a number of circumstances for resuming the bailout, together with a market-determined change price for the native foreign money and an easing of gas subsidies.

Final week, Pakistan eliminated a man-made cap on the rupee, leading to it dropping 14.73% in interbank buying and selling over the past three buying and selling classes.

The central financial institution mentioned the rupee gained 0.65% towards greenback on Tuesday in inter-bank buying and selling, however, in line with the change corporations’ affiliation, misplaced 0.54% within the open market.

“We imagine that the rupee’s weak spot nonetheless has additional to run, notably with Pakistan’s balance-of-payments place prone to stay weak for a number of extra months,” Fitch Options mentioned.

New measures additionally embody taxation, shedding energy sector debt and climbing power costs, with individuals already dealing with 24.5% inflation.

The central financial institution additionally raised rates of interest this month by 100 foundation factors to battle inflation.

The finance ministry, which raised gas costs by 16% over the weekend forward of the talks, mentioned in its month-to-month report issued on Tuesday that fiscal consolidation was key to saving official reserves and change price stability.

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