Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar cancelled his trip to the United States, citing the “domestic state of political affairs” as the reason, Geo News reported on Friday citing sources.
Dar was expected to attend the spring meetings of the World Bank-International Monetary Fund (IMF) that were taking place from April 10 to 16 in Washington.
Meanwhile, he was also scheduled to meet the IMF management for holding talks regarding the removal of bottlenecks for the revival of the derailed $6.5 billion programme.
Islamabad has been negotiating with the IMF since the end of January for the release of $1.1 billion from a $6.5 billion bailout package agreed upon in 2019. To unlock the funding, the government has cut back on subsidies, removed an artificial cap on the exchange rate, added taxes and raised fuel prices.
However, assurances from friendly nations for additional funds have delayed the agreement.
The finance czar was also expected to visit UAE on his way to the US where he was to hold talks with the officials for getting confirmation on another $1 billion deposit from them, which may pave the way for striking the staff-level agreement with the IMF.
While Dar pulled out of the trip, a delegation from Pakistan — including Finance Secretary Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh and Economic Affairs Secretary Kazim Niaz — will attend the spring meets of WB-IMF. The delegation will hold talks with the IMF officials on the sideline of the meetings to woo them to release the next tranche to Pakistan.
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Jameel Ahmad will also accompany the Pakistani delegation visiting the US.