Is Pakistan’s IMF bailout programme on track?

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Is Pakistan’s IMF bailout programme on track?

ISLAMABAD - The Finance Ministry Monday described as misleading and factually incorrect a news item published in a section of the press suggesting that tough prior actions [are] needed for Internationally Monetary Fund’s (IMF) US $ 452 million third tranche.

In an official statement issued here, the Ministry stated that it was completely normal for quarterly reviews to take sometimes a few days more than planned, which must never be viewed as something extraordinary.

The second and third quarterly reviews would be presented before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) board separately as planned, it said adding that no decision has been taken for any prior actions.

The statement said China was Pakistan’s iron brother and there was no apprehension whatsoever on the rollover/refinancing of Chinese loans.

It added that the article in question was equally ill-conceived in trying to portray that only a miracle could save the IMF program.

“The IMF staff team had constructive and productive discussions with the Pakistani authorities and commended them on the considerable progress made during the last few months in advancing reforms and continuing with sound economic policies,” it explained, adding, “all end-December performance criteria were met, and structural benchmarks have been completed.”

The Finance Division made it clear that the government’s reform program supported by the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) was on track.