IMF Confirms Pakistan's Pursuit of 24th Bailout for Structural Reforms
IMF Confirms Pakistan’s Pursuit of 24th Bailout for Structural Reforms

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced a significant development regarding Pakistan’s economic restructuring efforts, revealing that the country has sought a 24th medium-term bailout package to facilitate enduring structural reforms. This announcement came following the successful conclusion of the existing short-term facility. According to the IMF’s statement at the conclusion of its mission, subject to executive board approval, Pakistan stands to access approximately $1.1 billion, equivalent to 828 million special drawing rights (SDR), by late April.

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The IMF emphasized Pakistan’s interest in a successor medium-term program aimed at addressing long-standing fiscal and external sustainability challenges while bolstering economic recovery and fostering sustainable, inclusive growth. The IMF team reached a staff-level agreement with Pakistani authorities on the final review of Pakistan’s stabilization program supported by a $3 billion standby arrangement approved in July of the previous year. The IMF also outlined the anticipated discussions in the upcoming months regarding the conditionalities of the next program.

The next medium-term program, expected to span 36 to 39 months under the Extended Fund Facility, will focus on four key reform areas. These include strengthening public finances through fiscal consolidation and tax base expansion, particularly targeting under-taxed sectors like real estate, retail, wholesale trade, and agriculture. Additionally, efforts will be directed towards enhancing the viability of the energy sector, restoring inflation to target levels, and promoting private-led economic activity by removing distortionary protection and investing in human capital.

Nathan Porter, the IMF mission chief to Pakistan, acknowledged Pakistan’s progress in recent months, attributing it to prudent policy management and renewed inflows from multilateral and bilateral partners. However, he underscored the need for continued policy reforms to address Pakistan’s deep-rooted economic vulnerabilities amidst challenges posed by financing needs and an uncertain external environment. The mission commended the government’s commitment to maintaining economic stability, including efforts to meet fiscal targets and uphold monetary policy prudence.

In conclusion, the IMF’s staff-level agreement signifies a pivotal step towards reinforcing Pakistan’s economic resilience and setting a course for sustainable growth.

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