ISLAMABAD – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) told Pakistan on Thursday to meet the targets set under the $3 billion Stand By Agreement before the release of the second tranche.
The IMF mission led by Nathan Porter had arrived in Pakistan on Wednesday for two weeks long talks on the release of the second tranche under the agreement.
Quoting sources, Geo News said that caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar, State Bank of Pakistan Governor Jameel Ahmad and FBR officials met the IMF delegation for an introductory session on Thursday.
Caretaker Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue & Economic Affairs Dr. Shamshad Akhtar held a meeting with IMF review Mission led by IMF Chief Mr. Nathan Porter at Finance Division, today. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/N9mPNVXXMV— Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan (@Financegovpk) November 2, 2023
Officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the IMF delegation lauded the steps taken by Pakistan but emphasised that Pakistan has to strictly meet all the targets.
Dr Akhtar assured the IMF that targets are being met under the loan programme and that all the conditions of the IMF have been implemented.
Earlier, the finance ministry evaluated progress on the key targets, including disbursement of Rs87.5 billion in cash transfers to beneficiaries under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
IMF, under the quantitative performance criteria, had set the ceiling on the amount of government guarantees related target at Rs4,000 billion but the ministry was able to confine total guarantees to Rs3,853 billion till the end of September 2023. The real bone of contention in the review talks would be the external financing needs of Pakistan.
The forex market functioning may also become a problematic issue as the IMF had placed the withdrawal of the circular on prioritisation in providing forex for certain types of imports introduced in December 2022 under a structural benchmark. It was placed under structural benchmark as the IMF wanted to ensure “full market determination of the exchange rate”.
The finance ministry had taken note of the progress on quantitative performance criteria, continuous performance criteria, indicative target and structural benchmark conditions agreed with the IMF for the end of September 2023 under the $3 billion loan programme.
The government has also kept the circular debt of the power sector within the envisaged limits as it went up by Rs227 billion in the first quarter and touched Rs2.5 trillion by the end of September 2023.
“The target of increasing circular debt has been achieved successfully which was agreed with the IMF under revised circular debt management plan (CDMP),” an official said.
Regarding cash transfer to the beneficiaries under BISP, the official said the government disbursed Rs89 billion till September 2023 against the envisaged target of Rs87.5 billion. He added that the unconditional and conditional cash transfer was “well within the desired target”.
The official said the next installment would be disbursed under BISP in November 2023, after which the cumulative disbursement under the programme would touch Rs185 billion. The government has allocated a disbursement target of Rs460 billion for BISP in the ongoing fiscal year.
Meanwhile, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) officials said that they are on track to meet the floor on net international reserves (NIR) which they said would stand at negative $14.5 billion till the end of September 2023.
The ceiling on net government budgetary borrowing from the SBP stood at Rs4,078 billion for the end of September 2023 as the government’s borrowing from the central bank remained zero.
The indicative target of FBR’s collection has been achieved as the floor on net tax revenues collected by the FBR was envisaged at Rs1,977 billion till the end of September 2023. The ceiling on net accumulation of tax refund arrears stood at Rs32 billion.
Pakistani rupee remains largely stable against USD and other currencies in the open market on March 3, 2024 (Sunday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.3 for buying and 282.45 for selling.
Euro currently stands at 302.5 for buying and 305.5 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 354 for buying, and 359 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.3 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.5.
|UK Pound Sterling
|Hong Kong Dollar
|New Zealand Dollar