IMF delays approval of $450m tranche for Pakistan | Pakistan Today

IMF delays approval of $450m tranche for Pakistan

–Fund says focussed on emergency $1.4bn grant for Pakistan amid COVID-19 pandemic 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has deferred the approval of the second review of the $6-billion bailout programme, scheduled for Friday, due to delay in implementing agreed actions by Pakistan, saying, for now, it was focused on rapid financing facility of $1.4 billion, said a report.

It may be noted here that IMF and Pakistan had reached a staff-level agreement by the end of Feb this year, that was supposed to pave the way for a disbursement of $450m in IMF funds if approved by the Fund’s executive board.

“The IMF staff and the Pakistani authorities have reached a staff-level agreement on policies and reforms needed to complete the second review of the authorities reform programme supported under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF),” Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, IMF Mission Chief for Pakistan, had said in a statement issued from Washington.

“The priority now is to move ahead with the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI). The IMF team and Pakistani authorities are working hard for prompt approval and disbursement,” a newspaper quoted IMF Resident Representative Teresa Dabán Sanchez as saying.

On March 25, Prime Minister’s Finance Adviser Hafeez Shaikh said Pakistan approached the IMF with a request of $1.4 billion to mitigate the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Addressing a press conference, he had said this sum was separate from the current $6bn programme and that the World Bank would also provide $1bn to the country to support its efforts against the corona pandemic.

A Finance Ministry spokesperson told a local media outlet that his ministry was not aware of the IMF decision regarding the April 10 meeting as of yet.