ISLAMABAD: The executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has rescheduled its meeting on Feb 2, 2022 for Pakistan’s sixth review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
Earlier, the IMF board was scheduled to meet on January 28, 2022 to discuss sixth review of Pakistan.
According to IMF’s schedule of board meetings, the discussion titled, ”Pakistan – 2021 Article IV Consultation, Sixth Review Under the Extended Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility, and Requests for Waivers of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria and Rephasing of Access” would be held on next Wednesday (February 2).
While the IMF says that the “calendar is subject to change, and that the agenda for each meeting is typically finalized the day before the meeting”, in Pakistan’s case, dates have changed since Pakistan and the lender reached a staff-level agreement in November last year.
According to Finance Ministry officials, the staff-level agreement was on policies and reforms needed to complete the sixth review under the $6-billion EFF that started in 2019 but was put on hold in 2020. Since then, Pakistan has moved to meet key conditions of the IMF programme including passing the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2021 and the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the National Assembly.
While the government enforced the Finance (Supplementary) Act, 2022 to withdraw sales tax exemptions to the tune of Rs 343 billion from January 16, 2022, it is the SBP (Amendment) Bill that remains the issue.
Approval of both Houses of Parliament remains a prior condition of the IMF on the SBP Amendment Bill 2021.
Officials said the completion of the review would make available SDR 750 million (about $1,059 million), bringing total disbursements under the EFF to about $3,027 million.