Shocking news for Pakistan from the IMF

Despite successful negotiations with Pakistani authorities in November, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board meetings until December 14, 2023, do not include Pakistan on the agenda. The review under the $3 billion stand-by arrangement (SBA) program, following the lender's visit to the country, is still pending.

The current $3 billion IMF program is set to conclude in early April 2024, with approximately $1.8 billion remaining undisbursed. The lender released the first tranche of $1.2 billion in July, and the disbursement of the remaining amount is uncertain. Speculation suggests that the IMF may be waiting until after the General Elections in February 2024 before releasing funds, despite the caretaker government's efforts.

Economic analyst A H H Soomro noted, "Disbursement would happen whenever the board is convened. The country can tide the wave for a month if even delayed."

The IMF Executive Board calendar, available on its website, shows meetings scheduled for December 4, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, and December 14, 2023. Pakistan is not initially on the agenda, but there is a possibility of being added if authorities successfully convince the lender.

During the IMF team's visit, extensive discussions took place with officials from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Commerce. Finance Ministry sources revealed that the IMF had previously proposed conditions for a loan program with Pakistan in a policy paper crafted in 2019.