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Pakistan inches closer to IMF deal as UAE ‘confirms’ $1bn support

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  • SBP is now engaged in needful documentation, Dar says.
  • Last week, IMF indicated it has received assurance from Riyadh.
  • IMF is securing confirmation from international partners.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities have informed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about their plans of providing $1bn support to Pakistan.

The move will pave way for Pakistan to unlock the critical $1.1 billion loan tranche from the IMF as the Fund was securing confirmation from international partners to meet the financing gap requirements of Pakistan.

“UAE authorities have confirmed to IMF for their bilateral support of [$1] billion to Pakistan,” Dar announced on Twitter.

The finance minister added that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is now engaged in needful documentation for taking the said deposit from the UAE authorities.

Last week, the Washington-based Fund conveyed to Pakistan that it had received confirmation from Saudi Arabia on $2 billion in additional deposits.

“The IMF has indicated it has received the assurance from Riyadh”, State Minister for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha told reporters in Islamabad last week.

Saudi Arabia’s $2 billion and UAE’s $1 billion pledged in external financing support to Pakistan is one of the final conditions for an IMF deal that Islamabad needs to avert a default.

Pakistan has less than a month’s worth of foreign exchange reserves and is awaiting a bailout package of $1.1 billion from the IMF that has been delayed since November over issues related to fiscal policy adjustments. 

‘Pakistan had not reached default level yet’

A day earlier, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said that Pakistan had not reached the default level yet.

Georgieva, while addressing a news conference on the spring meeting of Breton Wood Institutions at the Washington-based Fund headquarters, said the Fund was securing confirmation from international partners to meet the financing gap requirements of Pakistan.

In response to a question regarding the looming default risk facing Pakistan, she said: “Pakistan had not yet reached that level and it would not but the country required a sustainable policy framework to avert such risks”.

She said the lender has been working very hard with the authorities in Pakistan within the context of the current programme to make sure the country has the policy framework in place to prevent reaching the point of unsustainable debt.

“My hope is that with the goodwill of everyone, and the implementation of what has been already agreed by the Pakistan authorities, we can complete our current programme successfully,” Georgieva maintained.

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Pakistan receives a $2 billion loan from China, according to the finance minister

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The $2 billion loan was one year ahead of schedule and became due in March. According to reports, Beijing had informed Islamabad of the decision.

The International Monetary Fund granted Pakistan’s cash-strapped economy a $3 billion standby arrangement last summer, but the country is still battling to recover from the financial crisis.

According to ratings firm Fitch, one of the top concerns confronting the next administration would be obtaining funding from bilateral and multilateral partners due to Pakistan’s precarious foreign situation, as was stated last week.

This event occurs one month after Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, the acting prime minister, asked for a $2 billion loan to be rolled over for a year in a letter to his Chinese counterpart.

In his letter, Kakar also expressed gratitude for China’s efforts to lessen Pakistan’s load

of foreign payments.

It is to be noted that Pakistan acquired safe deposits of $4 billion from China to address the balance of payments issue.

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“Ready to work with Pakistan’s new government,” the IMF said.

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In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

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In a new IMF agreement, Pakistan would “raise” the FBR tax-to-GDP ratio to 15%.

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The state bank reserves will be maintained at a level equivalent to three months’ worth of import bills, according to sources in the Finance Ministry.

According to sources, the ministry has also set a goal to maintain the primary balance surplus and reduce the current account deficit.

The ministry insisted that once the existing agreement expires, a new one would be negotiated with the IMF, and that the IMF will also be guaranteed that the requirements will be implemented prior to the agreement being finalised.

The founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) demanded that an audit of the election results be conducted before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved any additional loans for Islamabad. However, the IMF showed earlier today that it was eager to cooperate with the new administration in Pakistan by disregarding the demand.

According to Bloomberg News yesterday, Pakistan is to apply for a fresh $6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to assist the next government in paying off billions of dollars in debt that comes due this year.

According to the article, the nation would attempt to negotiate an Extended Fund Facility with the IMF, and it was anticipated that discussions with the international lender would begin in March or April.

Thanks to a short-term IMF bailout, Pakistan avoided defaulting last summer. However, the plan expires next month, and the next administration will need to negotiate a long-term deal to keep the $350 billion economy steady.

The IMF forced the South Asian country to enact a number of reforms prior to the rescue, including raising its benchmark interest rate, changing its budget, and raising the cost of natural gas and electricity.

According to a fund spokeswoman, the IMF staff is still in communication with authorities on the necessary longer-term reform initiatives. The fund is also prepared to assist the post-election government in addressing Pakistan’s ongoing issues by means of a new arrangement, should that request be made.

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