Pakistan 'Close' To Signing IMF Staff-Level Agreement, Says Dar

Pakistan 'Close' To Signing IMF Staff-Level Agreement, Says Dar
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that he is 'absolutely committed' to completing the $7 billion IMF programme, saying Pakistan is close to entering a staff-level agreement with the international lender.

It was reported earlier that there has been significant progress in the virtual talks between Pakistan and the Fund, which is believed to have given a ‘green signal’ for the staff-level agreement this week, as it expressed satisfaction over the steps taken.

Sources at Pakistan’s finance ministry said that there was ‘positive progress’ in the talks, after Pakistan fulfilled the conditions of IMF’s advance measures.

Due to the improvement in foreign exchange reserves, sources say that the last precondition of the IMF has also been fulfilled. This became possible due to the rollover of China’s $1.3 billion loan, which has bolstered foreign exchange reserves. Sources are hopeful that the financial packages announced for Pakistan by other allies will likely be ‘implemented soon’.

After a staff-level agreement is signed, the case will be presented in the IMF executive board meeting which would approve the ninth economic review and issue the next installment of $1.1 billion. After the approval of the economic review, the programme will also be ‘on track’ to ensure timely release of the next installment to Pakistan.

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A week ago, Dar insisted that Pakistan will not default and former premier Imran Khan is the one to blame for the country’s current economic crisis.

Addressing a presser in Islamabad, Dar said he was talking to media to bring more ‘clarity’ to the current scenario.

“We’ve never defaulted and we won’t now,” the minister said, and admitted, “Yes, we were in a precarious situation and are going through it currently.”

He assured the nation that the government has a roadmap to rescue Pakistan from its quagmire, adding, however, that it wouldn’t be disclosed now.

“I’m confident that we will take the State Bank’s reserves to $10bn and national reserves to nearly $16bn by June 30,” he remarked.