Talk success with IMF to result in quick economic turnaround: Miftah

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail has said the much-anticipated talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are going forward in a “positive” manner, hoping that the economic situation in the country will improve soon.
Taking to his Twitter handle on Friday, the finance minister wrote: “With positive IMF talks underway, we expect a turnaround in the economic situation very soon.”
Miftah also shared the current account data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) last night, terming the decline a “good sign for external stability”.
“The current account deficit for April came in at $623 million, less than half the average for the first [nine] months of the fiscal year. This is a very good sign for external stability,” he wrote.
A Pakistani delegation is holding talks with the Fund in Qatar, seeking the revival of the stalled $6 billion loan programme. Miftah will also travel to Doha on May 24 to participate in the final round of negotiations.
The government is expected to withdraw energy subsidies and roll back unfunded subsidies to the oil and power sector. According to reports, Pakistani authorities would make every effort to urge the IMF’s review mission that it should lower the cost of the inflation burden that will impact the population, and may ask for a phased-in approach to subsidy reversal, particularly on petroleum goods.
In a major development on the third day of negotiations between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the federal government has decided to withdraw subsidies on petroleum products and electricity before Monday.
According to media reports, during the ongoing technical talks with the Fund mission in Doha, the Pakistani delegation also discussed the programme to privatise power plants. The schedule for privatisation of state-owned enterprises has also been shown to the IMF.
While Pakistan’s leadership has agreed to most of the conditions of the international lending body, sources, however, revealed that they have sought concession on a hike in the policy rate, citing its negative impact on business activities as a major reason.
The central bank is scheduled to announce the monetary policy for the next month on May 23 (Monday).
Pakistan’s delegation — under the leadership of Finance Secretary Hamed Yaqoob Shaikh — told the IMF mission that a hike in policy rate would dent business activities which would impact the economy of Pakistan.


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