IMF team in Pak to review performance over $6-bn funding

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An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team has arrived in Islamabad to conduct the first quarterly review of Pakistans performance under its $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) finalised in May this year.

The successful completion of the first review would enable Islamabad to draw about $453 million from the Fund in first part of December, taking the total amount to almost $1.44 billion. The IMF had made in July this year an upfront disbursement of $991 million on completion of all prior actions committed by Pakistan before signing the fund programme, Dawn news reported on Monday.

The visiting team led by Mission Chief to Pakistan Ernesto Ramirez-Rigo will hold technical discussions with authorities from all the ministries, divisions and departments concerned to examine the latest data before winding up its trip on November 7 with policy-level talks with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir.

The first quarterly review is expected to be completed on a positive note as authorities have generally shown good performance on most of the structural benchmarks and performance criteria set for the first quarter ending September 2019.

Authorities in Islamabad said they were comfortable with overall progress on the fund programme in the first quarter as its revenue shortfall had been more than compensated by higher than estimated non-tax revenues supported by licence fees provided by telecom companies.

They said the government had put on hold issuance of fresh guarantees to the power and gas companies to stay within the IMF benchmarks despite pressing needs.

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