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Pakistan asks US to help revive stalled IMF programme

Pakistan has asked the US to play a role in reviving the stalled International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, though Washington seems more interested to know what Islamabad’s strategy was to cope with economic challenges in case of no funding from the Fund, local media reported.

Top official sources said the IMF raised different kinds of objections and asked Islamabad to bring in changes in the budget for 2023-24 in order to align the allocations with the IMF requirements. But Islamabad was asking the IMF staff to accomplish the pending 9th Review as a standalone for moving towards the release of $1.2 billion tranche, The News reported.

However, all hopes were diminishing except for Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s request for a meeting with the IMF managing director (MD) for a breakthrough. While there are no chances of any breakthrough, but Islamabad seems ready to make a last-ditch effort to revive the IMF programme, The News reported.

US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome called on Pakistan Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar in his office. When inquired by the US ambassador from the Pakistani team about the strategy of the country in case the IMF programme does not materialise, Ishaq Dar categorically replied that “Pakistan would remain afloat even without the IMF programme”.

The minister said they have implemented all prior actions of the IMF, including securing confirmation on external financing requirements of $4 billion and also achieved a current account surplus in the last few months.

He said Pakistan implemented tough conditions for which the government had to bear huge political costs.

Sources said the US ambassador gave a cold shoulder and preferred not to commit any strong support, The News reported.

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