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Pakistan to ‘complete IMF programme’

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  • Premier directs economic team to increase power generation.
  • PM Shehbaz emphasises need to reduce circular debt.
  • Differences between IMF and Pakistan still persist.

Amid uncertainty over the delay in the 9th review of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday rejected all news reports, saying that Pakistan would complete the programme.

Pakistan and the IMF have been holding talks virtually but differences still persist over tax collection targets, and non-starter energy reforms including hiking of gas tariff, rising circular debt, and expenditure overrun, making consensus harder to strike on a staff-level agreement in the context of the 9th review under $7 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

PM Shehbaz, during an important meeting held on the economic situation, directed the authorities concerned to provide support to the exporters in order to increase exports and manage twin deficits.

The premier said when the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government came into power in April after ousting then-prime minister Imran Khan through a no-confidence motion, the economy was struggling miserably.

“We stabilised the economy by working hard,” he said, directing the economic team to take measures to complete the IMF programme and manage the rising current account deficit.

In line with the concerns raised by the Washington-based lender, PM Shehbaz gave directives that the relevant ministries should work on energy policies. He added that power generation should be increased while the circular debt should be brought down.

It should be noted that the IMF had asked Pakistan for hiking the gas tariff because the government kept the gas prices unchanged which resulted in increasing the circular debt of the gas sector.

Although the government made plans for improving the gas sector no progress was witnessed in the power sector. 

The monster of circular debt in the power sector went up to Rs2.4 trillion and all targets agreed with the IMF for reducing it on a monthly and quarterly basis could not be achieved.

The subsidy on tube-wells alone would cause an increase of Rs200 billion in the accumulated circular debt in the ongoing financial year.

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The gold price in Pakistan today

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According to the All Sindh Sarafa Jewellers Association, the price of 10 grammes of 24 karat gold increased by Rs772 to Rs184,928 from Rs184,156, while the price of 10 grammes of 22 carat gold increased to Rs169,517 from Rs168,810.

These oscillations are strongly correlated with shifts in the US dollar’s value, demonstrating the complex interplay between gold prices and exchange rates.

This emphasises how local gold prices are impacted by events related to the global economy.

On the other hand, the cost of 24-karat silver was constant at Rs 2,570. Globally, too, the price of gold increased somewhat by $9 to $2,057 per ounce.

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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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