Meeting the International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director
In a significant development, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan recently met with the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva. This meeting served as a platform for fruitful discussions regarding the IMF’s continued engagement with Pakistan. Prime Minister Shehbaz expressed his pleasure in meeting Director Georgieva and affirmed Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to the ongoing Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program.
Reaffirming Commitment to the Extended Fund Facility
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif assured Director Georgieva that the Government of Pakistan is fully committed to the ongoing EFF, which is scheduled to expire this month. Despite having completed all prior actions for the 9th Review, the government expressed its willingness to take further steps in collaboration with the IMF. Prime Minister Shehbaz eagerly looks forward to the approval of the 9th Review by the IMF Board at the earliest possible opportunity.
Unlocking Stalled Funds and Meeting Obligations
During their meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz urged the IMF to release the stalled funds as Pakistan has fulfilled all the required conditions. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact, hosted in Paris. The Prime Minister aimed to assure the IMF of Pakistan’s steadfast commitment to fulfilling all promises made in this regard. The discussion encompassed the ongoing programs and cooperation between Pakistan and the Washington-based lender.
Economic Outlook and Growth Initiatives
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took the opportunity to provide an overview of Pakistan’s economic outlook to Director Georgieva. He highlighted the steps undertaken by his government to promote economic growth and stability. The Prime Minister emphasized that all prior actions related to the 9th review under the EFF had been successfully accomplished, reaffirming Pakistan’s full commitment to fulfilling its obligations as agreed upon with the IMF. Moreover, he expressed hope that the allocated funds under the EFF would be expeditiously released to strengthen Pakistan’s ongoing efforts towards economic stabilization and bring relief to its people.
Perspectives on the Ongoing Review Process
Director Georgieva shared the IMF’s perspective on the ongoing review process, offering valuable insights into the progress achieved thus far. The meeting served as a significant milestone in assessing the advancements made in the context of the EFF program.
Challenges and the Way Forward
Pakistan’s current currency reserves are barely sufficient to cover one month’s worth of imports. In November, the country had anticipated the release of $1.1 billion in funds. However, the IMF has imposed certain conditions before making further disbursements. With only one remaining IMF board review before the culmination of the $6.5 billion EFF program, Pakistan is expected to present a budget aligned with the program objectives, restore the proper functioning of the foreign exchange market, and bridge the $6 billion gap before the board review.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s meeting with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva signifies Pakistan’s strong commitment to the ongoing Extended Fund Facility program. The government’s determination to fulfill all obligations and its proactive efforts to promote economic stability are commendable. It is imperative that Pakistan continues to work closely with the IMF and undertake the necessary steps to unlock the funds, ensuring the country’s progress towards economic stabilization and prosperity.