IMF yet to schedule board meet for Pakistan review

Mehtab Haider
Tuesday, Dec 05, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The International Monitory Funds (IMF) has not yet finalised the exact schedule for the Executive Board meeting to consider Pakistan’s request for the completion of the first review and release of the second tranche worth $700 million under the $3 billion Standby Arrangement (SBA) programme.

The IMF has not yet firmed up its exact schedule because the Fund team was busy securing re-confirmation from all multilateral and bilateral creditors to meet the financing requirements of $24.9 billion for the current fiscal year.

This delay has now surfaced in discussions among the policy makers that the IMF might kick-start parleys on the second review probably after the general elections and takeover by the elected government.

The IMF programme was initially scheduled to kick-start parleys for second review from Feb 3, 2024 but if the elections were scheduled to be held on February 8, 2024 then the possibility of holding talks might be done in the last week of Feb or early March 2024. The ongoing SBA programme is going to expire on April 14, 2024.

The IMF has released its Executive Board calendar up to December 14, 2023 but Pakistan was not included in this issued calendar so far. The IMF and Pakistan has struck Staff Level Agreement on November 15, 2023 under $3 billion SBA programme but so far Islamabad’s request for considering completion of first review and release of second tranche worth $700 million was not yet finalized.

If the approval of next tranche was not placed on the agenda of the Board meeting for next couple of days then the release of next tranche would be considered next month (January 2024) so it would have far reaching impact on the country’s ability to generate much needed dollar inflows in shape of foreign loans during the ongoing month (December 2023).