ISLAMABAD - Policy level talks between Pakistan and International Monetary Fund (IMF) would start from next week that would finalise the volume of loan and conditionalaties of the new borrowing programme.

The IMF team, which had arrived Islamabad on November 6, had so far held technical discussion with Pakistan’s authorities. Economic ministries had shared data with the visiting IMF delegation during the technical level talks. Both the sides would initiate policy level talks from week, which would be headed by Finance Minister Asad Umar from Pakistani side. The talks between IMF and Pakistan will continue till November 20.

The volume of loan would be finalized in the policy level talks. The amount of loan being sought from the IMF has not been determined as yet. “The amount of aid sought from IMF has not yet been determined and is being worked on,” Umar said in media talk in Karachi.

Apart from the volume of loan, the IMF would also present its conditions for the bailout package for Pakistan during the upcoming talks. The IMF may ask Pakistani authorities to broaden the tax base of the country. The government would brief the visiting delegation about Pakistan’s debt especially related to China Pakistan China Corridor (CPEC). The IMF may set conditions for new loan programme including increasing power tariff and depreciating the currency. However, all these would be finalized during the next week.

During the technical level talks, the IMF has emphasised on Pakistan to take measures to enhance its exports and privatise the loss-making public sector entities (PSEs). Technical talks between Pakistan and IMF remained continued on the third consecutive third day on Friday. Sources informed that ministry of finance, ministry of commerce and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) officials briefed the Fund.

They informed that IMF has asked Pakistan to take measures to enhance the exports, which are declining from last few years. The Fund reportedly has asked the Pakistani authorities that increasing exports could help in maintaining the foreign exchange reserves of the country.

Similarly, they have also asked to privatise the loss making PSEs. Pakistan has informed the IMF delegation that government has finalized its privatization plan. Under the plan, the government would privatise SME Bank Ltd, First Women Bank Ltd, Jinnah Convention Centre, Islamabad, Lakhra Coal Development Company and Services International Hotel, Lahore. Similarly, the government has also approved the privatisation of newly-established 1233 MW Balloki Power Plant and the 1230MW Haveli Bahadur Power Plant.

The Fund was informed that government has delisted Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Railways, Utility Stores Corporation, National Highway Authority (NHA) and CAA from the privatisation list. The government has informed the IMF that it would establish Pakistan Sovereign Fund or Wealth Fund to run the public sector entities (PSEs) including PIA, PSM and others. As per plan, these PSEs would be run by appointing and empowering non-political and autonomous boards instead of concerned ministries. It holds and manages selected commercial assets of the government and undertakes strategic investments on behalf of the nation.