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Pakistan and IMF make progress for a new loan program: Porter

ISLAMABAD: At the request of the Pakistani authorities, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Nathan Porter, the IMF’s Mission Chief to Pakistan, visited Islamabad during May 13-23, 2024, to discuss Pakistan’s plans for a home-grown economic program that can be supported under the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

At the end of the visit, Mr. Porter issued the following statement:

“Building on the economic stabilization achieved through the successful completion of the 2023 Stand-by Arrangement, the IMF and the Pakistani authorities made significant progress toward reaching a Staff Level Agreement (SLA) on a comprehensive economic policy and reform program that can be supported under an Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

“The authorities’ reform program aims to move Pakistan from economic stabilization to strong, inclusive, and resilient growth. To achieve this, the authorities plan to continue to strengthen public finances to reduce vulnerabilities by improving domestic revenue mobilization through fairer taxation while scaling up spending for human capital, social protection, and climate resilience; secure energy sector viability, including reforms to reduce the high cost of energy; continue progress towards low and stable inflation by appropriate monetary and exchange rate policies; improve public service provision through state-owned enterprise (SOE) restructuring and privatization; and promote private sector development, by securing a level-playing field for investment and stronger governance.

“The mission and the authorities will continue policy discussions virtually over the coming days aiming to finalize discussions, including the financial support needed to underpin the authorities’ reform efforts from the IMF and Pakistan’s bilateral and multilateral partners.

“The IMF team is grateful to the Pakistani authorities, private sector, and development partners for fruitful discussions and their hospitality throughout this mission.”

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) experienced a surge on Friday, with stocks rising by 500 points following significant progress on a new loan deal between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

After the opening bell, the benchmark KSE-100 index jumped by 565.74 points, or 0.75 percent, reaching 75,680.21 points from the previous close of 75,114.47 at 10:30am.

The United Arab Emirates’ commitment to invest $10 billion, along with reports of Pakistan selling its stake in Reko Diq to Saudi Arabia, further bolstered market sentiment.

Analysts said, “Improving conditions on the external account enhance the likelihood of interest rate cuts in the next monetary policy, potentially driving further market revaluation.”

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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