IMF sends team to Pakistan to discuss extending loan program
The IMF will send a team to Islamabad next month to discuss the release of funds under an existing aid program, and extending the loan for another year, after Pakistan's government agreed to end fuel subsidies.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2019 approved a $6 billion, three-year loan for Pakistan, but disbursement has been slowed by concerns about the pace of reforms.
Fund officials had "very productive meetings" in Washington with Pakistani Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and "agreed that prompt action is needed to reverse the unfunded subsidies which have slowed discussions," IMF mission chief Nathan Porter said in a statement Sunday.
The mission to the country in May would discuss the seventh review of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), but Pakistan also has requested that the program be extended through June 2023 "as a signal of their commitment to address existing challenges and achieve the program objectives," the statement said.
Ismail, who took office this month after the government of Imran Khan lost a no-confidence vote, on Friday said he agreed to end the fuel subsidies implemented by the former prime minister, which the country cannot afford.
Pakistan's new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has vowed to jumpstart the moribund economy in the crisis-wracked South Asian nation.