September, 25, 2018: A team of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be visiting Pakistan this week to review the economic reforms initiated by the new government and discuss future measures.
The team is expected to hold talks with Finance Minister Asad Umar and is expected to be briefed on the economic situation of the country, along with changes made in the federal budget by the new government.
Pakistan’s technical team would be headed by Finance Secretary, Arif Ahmad Khan, Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Tariq Bajwa and Chairman Federal Board of Revenue, Jehanzeb Khan, besides senior officials from Ministry of Privatization, Ministry of Energy i.e. Petroleum Division and Power Division.
Relevant authorities, prior to the announcement of the budget amendments had briefed the IMF team in Washington DC about the contents of the proposed mini-budget ahead of the IMF visit to Pakistan scheduled for the month end.
Considering the balance of payments crisis, Pakistan has not yet decided on a rescue plan, and this visit could have an impact in that regard. Minister Finance however warned against taking the meeting out of context.
“We are in a discussion with them [Global Monetary Organization], but this is not to negotiate for a loan. Our aim is to do our homework, if we want to approach them at some stage,” the minister said in an interview with the Arab news.
He said that the country is not in a state of emergency and is not eager to seek help from the monetary fund.
Pakistan has repeatedly turned to the International Monetary Fund for help since the late 1980s. The last time was in 2013, when Islamabad received a $6.6 billion loan to deal with the economic crisis.
However, due to tensions with the largest lender in the US, there are concerns that the terms of any new loan will be more stringent than in 2013.
In July this year, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed concern that the International Monetary Fund would be used to repay China’s loans to Islamabad.
“There’s no rationale for IMF tax dollars — and associated with that, American dollars that are part of the IMF funding — for those to go to bail out Chinese bondholders or China itself,” Pompeo told US television station CNBC.