IMF says its mission will visit Pakistan this month to discuss new loan

KARACHI: An International Monetary Fund mission is expected to visit Pakistan this month to discuss a new programme, the lender said on Sunday (May 5) ahead of Islamabad beginning its annual budget-making process for the next financial year.

Pakistan last month completed a short-term US$3 billion programme, which helped stave off sovereign default, but the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has stressed the need for a fresh, longer term programme.

“A mission is expected to visit Pakistan in May to discuss the FY25 budget, policies, and reforms under a potential new programme for the welfare of all Pakistanis,” the IMF said in an emailed response to Reuters.

Pakistan’s financial year runs from July to June and its budget for fiscal year 2025, the first by Sharif’s new government, has to be presented before Jun 30.

The IMF did not specify the dates of the visit, nor the size or duration of the programme.

“Accelerating reforms now is more important than the size of the program, which will be guided by the package of reform and balance of payments needs,” the IMF statement said.

Pakistan narrowly averted default last summer, and its US$350 billion economy has stabilised after the completion of the last IMF programme, with inflation coming down to around 17 per cent in April from a record high 38 per cent last May.

It is still dealing with a high fiscal shortfall and while it has controlled its external account deficit through import control mechanisms, it has come at the expense of stagnating growth, which is expected to be around 2 per cent this year compared to negative growth last year.

Earlier, in an interview with Reuters, Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb said the country hoped to agree the contours of a new IMF loan in May.

Pakistan is expected to seek at least US$6 billion and request additional financing from the Fund under the Resilience and Sustainability Trust.

SOURCE: CNA ( RSS Latest News   (go to source)
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