Thu, 23 Mar 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], February 9 (ANI): Pakistan's Finance Minister Ishaq Da on Thursday said all the matters with the International Monetary Fund regarding the completion of the ninth review of the USD 7 billion loan programme will be settled, the Dawn reported.

Responding to a media query regarding the discussion with IMF, Dar said, "Everything is going all right", adding, "The final round is going on right now. I meet them (the IMF team) every day and will today as well.""It is expected matters will be settled today... We will give you the news very soon," he added.

A delegation of the IMF, headed by Nathan Porter, is currently in Islamabad for discussions on the ninth review. The talks are scheduled to be concluded on Thursday.

The review's completion would not only lead to a disbursement of USD 1.2 billion from the IMF but also unlock inflows from friendly countries and other multilateral lenders that Pakistan needs to stave off default.

On Wednesday, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha told journalists that the government and the global lender were "very close to the finalisation" of a Memorandum of Economic and Fiscal Policies (MEFP).

She said the MEFP would be handed over to Pakistan by the IMF once all issues are finally settled. She said a lot of things had been settled while the lender required clarity on some aspects, which the government team was trying to address.

Earlier, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the IMF and the government should consider the plight of those affected by floods in the country and ensure that they are protected from economic difficulties, the Dawn reported.

Zardari said it was the responsibility of international organisations, including the IMF, "to suggest reforms for our betterment but flood affectees must also be provided protection so that they can come out of the current situation".

The IMF has worked out a larger gap of approximately Rs 900 billion, equivalent to one per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Pakistan.

The IMF is asking to jack up the GST rate by one per cent from 17 to 18 per cent or impose 17 per cent GST on Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants (POL) products, reported Geo News.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is contesting the fiscal gap in achieving the primary deficit. Pakistani authorities have asked the IMF for incorporating a flow of reduction under the revised Circular Debt Management Plan (CDMP) and reduced the amount of required additional subsidy of Rs 605 billion against the earlier target of Rs 687 billion.

Therefore, the fiscal gap stood in the range of Rs 400 to Rs 450 billion. (ANI)

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