Pakistan and IMF kicked off crucial negotiations in Islamabad

Pakistan and IMF kicked off crucial negotiations in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD - International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistani authorities kicked off in Islamabad on Monday, as the IMF delegation held separate meetings with the officials of finance ministry.

Advisor on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh conducted the introductory session of the first phase of talks. The IMF delegation met Sheikh, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Syed Shabbar Zaidi.

Speaking to the media, Sheikh said that the Pakistani rupee has stabilized, funding for the Kafalat program has doubled, whereas, investors are coming from all over the world.

Speaking on inflation, the advisor on finance said that several decisions have been taken to control inflation. The government has given Rs7 billion subsidy on utility stores and 72 percent of electricity consumers are being provided subsidy, he informed.

The national Consumer Price Index (CPI) witnessed an increase of 14.6 percent on year-on-year (YoY) basis in January 2020 against the same period of 2019, monthly review of price indices released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) revealed.

The IMF staff team would hold discussion with Pakistani authorities till February 14 and technical level discussion to be followed policy level talks. The mission would evaluate implementation of economic targets agreed by Pakistan for US$6 billion facility.

On the completion of first review of Pakistan's economic performance in December, the IMF acknowledged that Pakistan's reform program is on track and already producing results.

Decisive policy implementation has started to address the deep-seated problems of Pakistan's economy and to reverse its large imbalances, preserving financial stability, the US based fund said in its report. The report acknowledges that the business climate in the country has improved, and market confidence is returning.

IMF has released SDR 328 million (about $ 452.4 million), bringing total disbursements to SDR 1,044 million (approx $1.45 billion). Meanwhile, Pakistan will receive $450 million if talks succeed this time.