The International Monetary Fund’s Executive Board is slated to consider Pakistan’s first review on January 11 next year, unlocking $700 million under the standby arrangement (SBA), as reported by Bloomberg citing the lender’s spokesperson on Friday.
Last month, Pakistan and the IMF reached a staff-level agreement under the $3 billion SBA, awaiting the board’s approval for the release of the second tranche.
The News had earlier reported that the first review for approval was not on the agenda for the IMF’s Executive Board meeting scheduled from December 1 to 15. The delay was attributed to the IMF team’s efforts in securing re-confirmation from multilateral and bilateral creditors to meet the financing requirements of $24.9 billion for the current fiscal year.
Discussions among policymakers suggested that IMF negotiations for the second review might commence post the general elections and the formation of the elected government. Initially scheduled for February 3, 2024, discussions might be deferred to late February or early March 2024 if elections occur on February 8, 2024.
The ongoing SBA program is set to expire on April 14, 2024.
IMF Executive Director Bahador Bijani acknowledged overall economic improvement, stating that Pakistani authorities have delivered positive outcomes. His remarks came during an event in Washington hosted by Pakistan’s ambassador to the US in honor of friends of Pakistan from International Financial Institutions.
Nathan Porter, IMF Mission Chief to Pakistan, expressed satisfaction with the recently concluded staff-level agreement, noting the government’s commitment to stabilizing the country through its actions and policies.
Despite facing Asia’s fastest inflation and having approximately $1 billion in dollar-denominated debt due next year, Pakistan is considering additional loans from the IMF, with Interim Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar describing the economy as still fragile after the staff-level deal in November.