PIK News | IMF chief says agreement with Pakistan on 2nd tranche expected this week
IMF chief says agreement with Pakistan on 2nd tranche expected this week
Published on: 15-Nov-2023
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Wednesday said the agreement for the release of the second tranche, amounting to $3 billion under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) with Pakistan, was expected this week. Advertisement “I expect an agreement of the review to come within this week,” Georgieva told Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin in an interview in Singapore.
The confirmation from the top official comes amid reports of the IMF advising Pakistan against creating a group of preferred investors or distortions in the country under the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) and to ensure transparency and accountability in its business deals. The IMF executive board had approved the much-needed nine-month SBA with Pakistan “to support its economic stabilisation programme”. The approval had allowed for an immediate disbursement of $1.2bn, with the rest to be phased over the programme’s duration — subject to two quarterly reviews. If the second quarterly review is successful, it will allow for the release of the second tranche worth $710m. The IMF’s technical staff initiated the first evaluation of the short-term loan agreement on Nov 2, which concluded on Nov 10. Dawn quoted informed sources as saying the IMF and the Pakistan authorities had covered most of the areas during policy-level discussions and there was a problem area left out. The two sides were reported to have had back-and-forth clarifications on Tuesday on the finalisation of the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP) and were expecting to conclude the talks on a positive note on Wednesday (today). The IMF staff mission would then present Pakistan’s case to the executive board for approval of the successful conclusion of the first quarterly review under the nine-month $3bn Standby Arrangement signed in July. This would enable Pakistan to receive the second tranche early next month. Speaking to Bloomberg, Georgieva said: “The Pakistani authorities, especially the finance minister deserve credit for a very difficult time sticking to the programme that they have.” When questioned about the obstacle affecting the release of the tranche, she pointed to the predominant issue in the country as “tax collection”. “The country today collects 12 per cent tax-to-GDP. We are saying it has to be at least 15pc to help the revenues to sustain the functioning of your economy.” Georgieva recommended to the government, stating, “For the people in Pakistan that can pay taxes, collect it from them.”