ISLAMABAD - The International Monetary Fund has refused to visit Pakistan in the wake of recent wave of terrorist attacks in different parts of the country.
"We have decided to hold the consultations for the second review of our current programme in Pakistan outside the country,” William Murray, IMF’s Communications Department deputy spokesperson in Washington, said in a press briefing.
An IMF team was scheduled to visit Pakistan from January 28 for the second economic review for release of the third tranche.
“We remain fully committed to the IMF program in Pakistan and look forward to holding future meetings inside the country as the security situation permits. In terms of venue I'm kind of disinclined to get into details here, but we expect a comprehensive meeting with the authorities around February 1," added the IMF official.
Sources were of the view that Pakistan and the IMF might hold negotiations in Dubai. However, the venue for talks has not been finalized yet, as the two sides are in the process of finalizing it.
Asked about the venue of the meeting, Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan and Finance Ministry spokesperson Rana Asad Amin were unable to answer.
The IMF team was scheduled to visit Pakistan from January 28 for the review of the economic situation of the second quarter (October-December) of the current fiscal year before releasing third tranche under the extended fund facility.
The Fund staff and the Pakistani authorities would review qualitative and quantitative performance of the benchmarks agreed under the $6.64 billion programme. The IMF had announced it would evenly disburse the remaining amount over the duration of the programme, subject to the completion of quarterly review; therefore, the Fund team would visit Pakistan from January for a second review before releasing $540 million.
Pakistan believes it would get the next tranche, as it had fulfilled all the conditions under the EFF in the second quarter. The government had been struggling to maintain the target of Net International Reserves (NIR) due to massive outflow of dollars. However, the Fund has modified the time bound target of Net International Reserves downward by $2 billion for the second quarter (end-December 2013), thereby enabling Pakistan to become eligible for the disbursement of the next tranche under Extended Fund Facility.
Similarly, the government has controlled the budget deficit at 2.5 per cent of the GDP during the first half (July-December) of the ongoing fiscal year, which seems a positive sign. Pakistan would inform that privatization process had been started by the government, as eight public sector entities were in privatization process.
The IMF had already released two tranches worth $1.09 billion for Pakistan under the EFF. The facility amounting to Special Drawing Rights 4.393 billion ($6.64 billion, or 425 per cent of Pakistan's quota), was approved by the Fund on September 4 last year. The EFF is a three-year arrangement for Pakistan by the IMF to support the country's economic reforms programme to promote the inclusive growth.