ISLAMABAD: In a news report carried out by a large section of the press on 7th June 2018, the former Senate Chairman Senator Mian Raza Rabbani has questioned the policy decision taken by caretaker finance minister with regard to negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The former chairman has pointed towards the fact that the role of caretaker government is to assist the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in holding free, fair and transparent elections and to run the day to day affairs of the state.

It is observed that the former chairman Senate may have reacted to a news article published earlier that the government has decided to continue the consultation process with the Fund which is binding under article IV.

The news item does not reflect the factual position, ministry of finance would like to clarify that article IV consultations (Under Articles of Agreement) with member countries are part of IMF's overall responsibility i.e to monitor the economic and financial policies of its189 member countries.

IMF monitoring typically involves annual visits to member countries. Upon completion of their evaluation, the IMF staff presents a report to the Executive Board for discussion. The Board's views on the report are then transmitted to the country's authorities which concludes the process.

It is clarified that Article IV consultations are an annual feature. These were previously scheduled to be held in Islamabad during the month of March 2018. As the government decided to present the Annual Budget 2018-19 in May 2018; the pre-occupation of key government ministries and officials in budget making exercise delayed the process.

Article IV consultations are now likely to take place in the later part of June 2018. These are routine consultations and do not imply entering into negotiations with IMF.

It is clarified that the finance minister has been misquoted by a section of the press as the government has not yet taken a decision to go to the Fund for any bailout package.