‘No prior action required’ to secure third IMF tranche, finance ministry reacts to media report

February 17, 2020

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The ministry explained that the IMF team had "constructive and productive discussions" with Pakistani authorities and commended them on the progress made during the last few months. — AP/File
The ministry explained that the IMF team had "constructive and productive discussions" with Pakistani authorities and commended them on the progress made during the last few months. — AP/File

The finance ministry on Monday dispelled reports that "tough prior actions" were needed before Pakistan could secure the third tranche of Rs452 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

On Sunday, The News had reported that the government will have to "take prior actions by placing a viable fiscal adjustment plan, hiking gas and power tariff and ensuring Chinese loans rollover in order to strike a staff-level agreement with the IMF".

In an official statement released on Monday, the finance ministry said: "It is completely normal for quarterly reviews to take a few more days than planned, which must never be viewed as something extraordinary."

"The second and third quarterly reviews will be presented before the IMF board separately as planned. No decision has been taken as to any prior actions. China is Pakistan’s brother and there is no apprehension whatsoever on the roll-over/refinancing of Chinese loans," the statement added.

The ministry explained that the IMF team had "constructive and productive discussions" with Pakistani authorities and commended Pakistan on the progress made during the last few months regarding "advancing reforms and continuing with sound economic policies".

"All the performance criteria [for the end of December] were met, and structural benchmarks have been completed. The finance division would like to make it very clear that the government’s reform programme supported by the IMF’s extended fund facility is on track," it added.

The finance ministry statement added that the news report suggesting prior action was needed is "ill-conceived in trying to portray that only a miracle can save the IMF programme".