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IMF team to visit Pakistan from Jan 31

An IMF mission will visit Pakistan later this month to address the stalled ninth review of the country’s current funding arrangement, according to the lender’s resident representative on Thursday.

“An in-person Fund delegation is scheduled to visit Islamabad January 31st – February 9th to continue discussions under the ninth EFF review,” Esther Ruiz Perez said in a statement to Reuters.

According to the IMF official, the mission will focus on policies to restore domestic and external sustainability, including strengthening the fiscal situation with long-term and high-quality measures, as well as assisting the vulnerable and those affected by the floods.
According to the spokesperson, the Fund would also address strategies to restore the viability of the power industry and reverse the ongoing buildup of circular debt, as well as reestablish the correct functioning of the forex exchange market to allow the exchange rate to clear the forex shortfall.

“Stronger policy actions and reforms are necessary to lower the current increased uncertainty that weighs on the outlook, strengthens Pakistan’s resilience, and seek financial support from official partners and markets, which is critical for Pakistan’s long-term growth,” the IMF official added.

The event came a day after Pakistan told the US that it remained committed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, as the country’s reserves fell to only half a month’s import cover following a $500 million loan repayment.

The revelation comes as the Pakistani rupee plummeted by Rs24.11 (or 9.45%) to an all-time low of Rs255 versus the US dollar in the interbank market, as the government relinquished control over the rupee-dollar exchange rate as part of an IMF condition.

According to an official notice from the Ministry of Finance, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met with Robert Kaproth, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of the Treasury for Asia, on Wednesday.

Both parties discussed the status of the IMF programme throughout the meeting. Dar informed the US official about Pakistan’s efforts to restart the IMF programme.

The IMF has requested that Pakistan create a market-based currency rate, abolish import restrictions, and raise taxes and utility costs.

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