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Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 451, 7 December 2022

IMF Talks: Ninth review at the “advanced stage,” says Finance Division



Rules out economic emergency being imposed in Pakistan

Abigail Miriam Fernandez

On 6 December, the Finance Division stated that talks with the IMF on the ninth review of Pakistan’s USD seven billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) were at the “advanced stage.” A statement from the division said, “With the efforts of the current government, the IMF programme has come back on track.” This comes amid the delay of the ninth review as remote talks is taking place between IMF officials and the government for the release of USD 1.18 billion.

Delay in IMF talks on the ninth review
The talks between the IMF and Pakistan were initially scheduled for the last week of October but there were rescheduled for 3 November. Since then, there has been a delay as the two sides failed to finalise a schedule for formal talks amid a lack of clarity on flood-related financial requirements for this fiscal year and a declining revenue stream in the wake of import controls.

On the delay, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stated that he was not concerned whether the IMF team arrives for the ninth review stating that he had to look at the country’s interest first. He said, “I don’t care if they come. I don’t have to plead before them. I have to look at Pakistan’s matters…Our ninth review is totally in order. Everything is in order and under normal circumstances … I have reassured them that our ninth review is in order and you should come and give Pakistan the $500 million funds.” He said that the IMF could “not dictate” the government adding, “If they don’t come then we will manage — no problem.”

FM Dar meets with IMF stakeholders
On 6 December, FM Dar met with diplomats of the US, China, and the UK, who have 16.5 per cent, 6.08 per cent and 4.03 per cent voting rights in the IMF respectively in attempts to gain support for the economic bailout package. During the meeting, FM Dar briefed the diplomats on the economic challenges caused by factors and difficulties in dealing with IMF staff. Additionally, he also assured Pakistan’s commitment to the IMF programme despite the several challenges.

Finance Division rules out economic emergency being imposed
The statement from the Finance Division rejected claims of an economic emergency being imposed in the country. The statement said, “Finance Division not only strongly rebuts the assertions made in the said message but also categorically denies it and that there is no planning to impose economic emergency…The message is unfortunately aimed at creating uncertainty about the economic situation in the country and can only be spread by those who do not want to see Pakistan prosper.” (Tahir Sherani, “Talks with IMF on ninth review in 'advanced stage': Finance Division,” Dawn, 7 December 2022; “‘Won’t take IMF’s dictation’: Dar says he has to prioritise Pakistan’s interest,” Dawn, 2 December 2022; “Talks with IMF on ninth review delayed further,” Dawn, 18 November 2022; Khaleeq Kiani, “Govt seeks major IMF shareholders’ help for $7bn plan,” Dawn, 7 December 2022)

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