WASHINGTON (APP) – The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund is due to meet on Dec. 18 to discuss the ninth review under the Extended Fund Facility arrangement with Pakistan and is expected to approve the release of $502 million loan tranche.

Pakistan achieved the staff-level agreement with the IMF officials following talks between the IMF officials and the Pakistani delegation led by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar held in Dubai between Oct 28-Nov 5.

The meeting concluded with a staff-level agreement as the head of the IMF delegation, Harald Finger, described the discussions on the 9th review as productive. The IMF Executive Board will meet on Dec. 18 to review the 9th review, according to the Board’s schedule posted on the IMF’s official website.

A statement issued after the meeting praised the commitment of the
Pakistan’s government to economic reforms which, it said, has significantly reduced near-term risks to the economy.

IMF expects Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by about
4.5 percent in FY 2015/16,  and the inflation is estimated at around 4.5 percent by the end of the fiscal year. However, the slowdown in private credit growth and weakness in exports and imports were weighing on growth prospects.

The government of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has stabilized the country’s economy which was facing a serious crisis when he took over after winning elections in June, 2013. The improvement in the economy has boosted investors’ confidence.

The headline inflation has been contained at 1.86% during first five months of the current fiscal year as compared to 6.45% of the corresponding period last year, according to the Finance Ministry.

The current account deficit has been narrowed to $532 million during four months of the fiscal year as compared to $1.8 billion in the corresponding period of last year.

The foreign exchange reserves as of Dec. 4 were reported at above $20 billion and the FBR tax collection is showing improvement at 16.8 percent during July-Nov. of the current fiscal year as compared to last year, according to the Finance Ministry.