In this file photo taken on April 15, 2020, a sign is seen outside the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, DC. — AFP

A delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will arrive in Pakistan on November 2 for talks pertaining to the initial assessment of the $3 billion Stand-By Arrangement (SBA).

Esther Perez Ruiz, the IMF’s resident representative, confirmed the development late Tuesday night, as the financially crippled nation, currently operating under an interim administration in the centre and provinces, is striving to ensure economic recovery following the approval of its IMF loan programme in July.

Ahead of the arrival of the mission, the Finance Ministry is also gearing up for the forthcoming discussions with the global lending institution.

The loan programme averted a sovereign debt default with Pakistan receiving its first $1.2 billion tranche from the Washington-based lender soon after the approval.

“An International Monetary Fund team led by Mr Nathan Porter will field a mission to Pakistan starting on November 2 on the first review under the current Stand-By Arrangement,” Ruiz was quoted as saying in a statement.

Meanwhile, the finance secretary has convened an important meeting of all ministries, divisions, and departments for tomorrow (Thursday) to get an update on all structural benchmarks, indicative criteria and performance criteria agreed with the IMF for the end of September 2023.

The finance ministry has made all-out efforts to restrict the budget deficit target within limits agreed with the lender.

It had warned the provinces to trip down spending, and the latest provisional estimates suggest that Punjab and Sindh had made significant progress on it.

Another challenge for restricting the overall fiscal deficit is the rising debt servicing requirements that would, of course, balloon and stand beyond Rs8.3 trillion to Rs8.5 trillion for the current fiscal year 2023–24 against the initially envisaged target of Rs7.3 trillion in the wake of surged policy rate of the central bank.

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