Pakistan hopeful of securing IMF financing ‘soon’, says PM Sharif


Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Wednesday Pakistan hopes to secure financing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “soon”.

While chairing a cabinet meeting, he said some measures are pending for the deal to be approved.

The government is also focused on making austerity a top priority for the economic crisis-hit country, Sharif added.

Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2023 adopted: NA acquiesces to IMF tax stipulation

“This is a critical time for Pakistan and we all will need to work to improve the state of the economy,” he said. “The ministers, advisers, special assistants and government officials will take a lead in following cost-cutting measures.”

On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Finance Secretary Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh stated that the country “expects to conclude talks with the IMF as soon as this week”.

An IMF mission spent more than a week in Islamabad earlier this month to discuss a policy framework to allow the release of more than $1 billion in funding from a stalled $6.5 billion bailout package, originally approved in 2019.

However, the mission left without a conclusion.

“The consultations with the IMF are in the final stages. We expect to conclude the consultations soon, even within the week,” Hamed told Reuters.

The National Assembly on Monday passed the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2023 aimed to amend certain laws relating to taxes and duties. Measures contained in the bill are crucial to unlock next tranche of IMF loan.

Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar introduced the bill in the House on February 15, and the formal debate started on it after moving a motion by Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar on February 17, 2023.

In his concluding speech, the Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar said that this bill proposed to impose new taxes of Rs170 billion to minimise the fiscal deficit.

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