ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar said the government and the IMF officials today reviewed the reforms and fiscal policies agenda to accomplish the 9th review.
Ishaq Dar issued a brief message through his twitter handle on Tuesday.
According to Dar, “Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar held a meeting with IMF review Mission led by IMF Mission Chief Mr. Nathan Porter at the Finance Division on Tuesday and discussed and reviewed the economic and fiscal policies and reforms of the govt and agenda to accomplish the 9th review under the EFF.”
What was the agenda and what the IMF wanted from the government to qualify for the disbursement of next tranche?
Finance Minister did not share it on the social media and kept everyone guessing the discussion between the govt and the IMF teams.
Earlier, the economic team of the government and IMF officials held an important meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday morning, resuming much-awaited talks for the resumption of stalled IMF bail out package.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar led Pakistan side while Nathan Porter headed the IMF team.
According to finance ministry officials, both the sides discussed the implementation of the IMF conditions linked with the approval of the ninth review and disbursement of $1.1 billion tranche.
The governments and IMF talks will continue till Feb 9 and both the sides will sign an agreement after developing a consensus on the programme.
Last week, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had said that the government and IMF will sign the agreement within this month for the resumption of loan. This development, however, seems impossible as the government and IMF have resumed talks on Jan 31, the last day of the current month.
Pakistan government had already enforced the two harshest conditions of the IMF _ free float of Pakistani rupee versus dollar and increase in petrol prices _ Rs35 per liter in the prices of petrol/diesel from Sunday (Jan 29), two days ahead of the resumption of talks with IMF.
Meanwhile, the remaining IMF conditions are increase in gas, electricity tariffs, restriction-free opening of Letters of Credit (LCs) for imports, increase in taxes to generate more revenues, and elimination of subsidies.
It is believed that the government would have to take more tough measures for consumers to address a circular debt of over Rs2.5 trillion in the power sector, increase in taxes and cut in expenditure to bridge a Rs2 trillion fiscal hole.
According to official sources, 30% people were already leading a miserable life with below poverty line and 22% more would become vulnerable to extreme poverty in the wake of massive hike in inflation when the government puts in place all the conditions of the IMF.