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Pakistan, IMF initial loan talks to conclude May 24

Virtual talks continue between IMF
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May 23, 2024 (MLN): Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund will end two weeks of initial talks for a new loan tomorrow after the officials from the two sides discussed proposals for the upcoming budget, as Bloomberg reported.

The discussions focused around the budget, which will be announced to parliament next month, Rana Ihsaan Afzal Khan, a coordinator to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in an interview in Islamabad on Thursday, without saying when the second round of talks will start.

Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb has said Pakistan intends to reach a staff-level agreement with the IMF for a bigger and longer loan by June-end or early July.

The South Asian nation needs fresh support from the Washington-based lender to shore up its foreign reserves and give policymakers space to boost a sputtering economy that has been grappling with record inflation.

The budget is a platform that has been used to implement the IMF conditions in the past.

The current program is seen as the toughest in recent history as Pakistan is forced to take some unpopular decisions.

Key objectives in the negotiations for the fund will include broadening the tax base, improving debt sustainability, restoring viability to the energy sector, and improving state-owned companies, the IMF said last month.

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Posted on: 2024-05-23T20:16:18+05:00