This file photo taken on January 26, 2022, shows the seal for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, DC. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: A mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has landed in Pakistan to discuss a new programme ahead of the country’s annual budget for the next financial year.

A support team of the global lender will discuss the first phase of the next long-term loan programme with Pakistan’s financial team, said the sources privy to the matter. 

The sources further said that the advance party of the IMF has reached Pakistan to hold discussions on the longer and larger size of the bailout package while the IMF mission will arrive on the night of May 16.

The team will receive data from different departments and will also discuss the upcoming FY2025 budget with the Ministry of Finance officials.

The sources also revealed that the team will stay in Pakistan for more than 10 days.

Pakistan sought a next bailout package in the range of $6 to $8 billion for the three years period under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with possibility of augmentation through climate financing, The News had reported last month.

Last week, Reuters reported that the mission will discuss the FY25 budget, policies, and reforms under a potential new programme for the welfare of all Pakistanis.

“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.

Earlier, Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb, while speaking to Reuters, said that Pakistan hopes to agree on the contours of a new IMF loan in May.

“We expect the IMF mission to be in Islamabad around the middle of May — and that is when some of these contours will start developing,” said Aurangzeb.

He declined to outline what size programme the government hoped to secure, though Pakistan is expected to seek at least $6 billion.

Aurangzeb added that once the IMF loan was agreed, Pakistan would also request additional financing from the Fund under the Resilience and Sustainability Trust.

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