IMF Delegation To Visit Pakistan On Nov 2 For First Review Of SBA 

‘IMF is pressing Pakistan hard to privatize loss-making state-owned enterprises’

IMF Delegation To Visit Pakistan On Nov 2 For First Review Of SBA 

The resident representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that a delegation from the lender will be in Pakistan on November 2 to discuss the first review of the nation's existing $3 billion standby arrangement (SBA).

Following the approval of an IMF loan package in July that prevented a sovereign debt default, Pakistan is attempting to negotiate a difficult road to economic recovery under a caretaker government. Pakistan got $1.2 billion in July as the first payment of the program from the IMF.

"On November 2, an International Monetary Fund delegation headed by Nathan Porter will field a mission to Pakistan starting on November 2 on the first review under the current stand-by arrangement," Reuters was informed by the IMF's resident representative in Pakistan, Esther Perez Ruiz.

The visit takes place in the midst of rumors that the caretaker government is going forward with the plan regarding PIA, the national flag carrier, and that the IMF is applying intense pressure on Islamabad to privatize loss-making state-owned firms.

Prior to the impending review that will determine when the second tranche of the $3 billion agreement will be issued, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) agreed to a significant increase in the gas tariff earlier on Monday in order to fulfill one of the primary requirements specified by the IMF.

The set monthly rates for protected users, who make up 57% of domestic consumers, have increased from Rs10 to Rs400 per month even though their gas prices have not changed.

With effect from November 1, non-protected consumers would be affected by changes in the gas tariff, resulting in a 194 percent increase in their monthly expenditures.

Simultaneously, non-protected users now pay fixed monthly fees that have increased from Rs460 to Rs1,000 for the first category of up to 1.5 hm3 and from Rs460 to Rs2,000 for the second category of 1.5 hm3.

However, the local gas tariff has been increased by the government to 136.4 percent for commercial use, 86.4 percent for export, and 117 percent for non-export use.