ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves would remain under severe pressure during the ongoing financial year 2012-13 due to heavy repayment of $2.9 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), finance ministry sources said on Wednesday. Sources informed TheNation that Pakistan would repay some $2.9 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the fiscal year to be ended on June 30 2013, which would put pressure on the foreign exchange reserves of the country.

According to the sources, Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves are already depleting, as it has dropped to around $15.298 billion during the week ended on August from $15.542 billion in its preceding week.

It might be mentioned here that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves are already under pressure from last few months, as country had already paid some $1.2 billion to the IMF in last financial year 2011-12. The country’s foreign exchange reserves were dropped to $14 billion from higher side of $18 billion of last year, however, it (foreign exchange reserves) gone up after receiving $1.1 billion from United States under the head of coalition support fund (CSF) and reached to level of above $15 billion.

Sources were of the view that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves would come under further pressure when country starts repaying $2.9 billion to the IMF within current financial year 2012-13. Sources did not ruled out the possibility of going for another IMF programme, however the political leadership of the coalition government would decide when to knock the door of the fund for fresh programme, sources added.

According to the sources, a similar situation of foreign exchange reserves had compelled the government in 2008 to seek a $7.6 billion IMF bailout package, which was increased to $11.3 billion but the country was not eligible for the last two disbursements of $3.2 billion due to failure to comply with the performance criteria. The government was failed to bring reforms in General Sales Tax (GST) and power sector, which became the reason in suspending the programme.

Independent economists are of the view that with the repayment of installment to International Monetary Fund would start increasing pressure on country’s economy without taking new programme.