An IMF delegation is in Pakistan to review its economic progress and the use of the first tranche of the USD 6 billion loans extended to the cash-strapped country. In July, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a USD 6 billion loan to Pakistan with a string of conditions to be fulfilled and the progress review every quarter.
The eight-member IMF team, led by the Middle East and Central Asia Director Jihad Azour, will hold a series of meeting Prime Minister Imran Khan and other officials of the Pakistani government. The IMF delegation will be briefed on the use of the first tranche of the USD 6 billion loans it has extended to Pakistan, tax revenue, the trade deficit, rupee value, new monetary policy and methods to improve non-tax revenue. Finance Adviser Hafeez Sheikh will brief the delegation on Pakistan's economic progress. Meetings are also scheduled with Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Khusro Bakhtiar and other ministers.
Finance adviser Shaikh told media that the arrival of the IMF officials was a routine affair and there was no worry about it. According to reports, Pakistan is likely to miss the IMF's condition to refund Rs 75 billion to taxpayers in the first quarter despite an incentive by the global lender. The IMF had offered to soften the tough primary budget deficit reduction target if the country performs better in tax refunds.
Under the USD 6 billion IMF loan deal, Pakistan is required to reduce the primary budget deficit, calculated by excluding interest payments, to Rs 276 billion in the current fiscal year 2019-20 from last year's level of Rs 1.350 trillion.