WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to release the next tranche of $500 million for Pakistan after approving four pending reviews of the country’s economic progress, official sources in the US capital said.
The approval revives the $6 billion IMF programme after it remained latent for over a year. The approval followed some tough decisions taken in Islamabad to stabilise the economy. The measures included a steep rise in electricity bills, imposition of Rs140 billion taxes and agreeing to grant unprecedented autonomy for the central bank.
The executive board of the IMF endorsed the staff-level agreement, reached between the government of Pakistan and the Fund’s team last month.
The board’s approval has paved the way for the release of $500m third loan tranche. Out of the $6bn, the IMF has already disbursed $1.45bn in two tranches, bringing the total disbursements to $2bn.
Last April, the IMF had postponed a board meeting for the approval of the second review after Islamabad failed to announce a mini-budget for readjusting the economy.
In February, both sides agreed to club the pending second, third, fourth and fifth reviews of the programme.
The separate completion of these reviews would have led to disbursements of $2.2bn, which the IMF has now reduced to just $500m.
Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2021