IMF mission chief due in Islamabad

May 10, 2014 - 2:31:45 am

ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Mission Chief Jeffrey Franks is expected to arrive in Pakistan today for taking political leadership into confidence on the key conditions agreed during the recent review talks.

Later, Dar and Franks will hold a joint press briefing about the third review of talks held at Dubai under the three-year extended fund facility (EFF) of $6.64bn, a top official source confirmed yesterday.

 A senior official, who attended the Dubai talks, said both Pakistani side and the IMF planned that the fund mission chief Jeffrey Franks would pay visit to Islamabad after concluding review talks.

 At one point of time, this schedule seemed in the doldrums after the political protest announcement in the federal capital tomorrow. 

But after assurances given by the government about the foolproof security arrangements, the schedule of IMF’s mission chief was still intact. 

Adviser to the Finance Ministry Rana Assad Amin, who is also the ministry’s spokesman, confirmed the visit and about the press conference. 

“The ongoing review talks between Pakistan and the IMF will conclude yesterday,” he said and added both would brief the media.

 Pakistan had achieved almost all performance criteria envisaged till March 2014 under the IMF’s conditions on account of curtailing budget deficit, restricting government borrowing from the central bank and providing cash transfer to the beneficiaries of Benazir Income Support Programme. 

The smooth sailing will now pave the way for releasing of fourth tranche worth $550m under the EFF in the coming months. In the review talks, Pakistani side has shared the blueprint of the next budget 2014-15 with the broad, aiming at scaling down budget deficit, inflation and uplifting the gross domestic product growth. 

Pakistani authorities also submitted plans to identify those concessionary statutory regulatory orders, which would be withdrawn through the Finance Bill 2014 on the eve of the next budget. 

“The government and the Federal Board of Revenue have so far identified four to five dozens SROs, which will be abolished through the bill with the approval of the parliament,” said the advisor. 

The government lags behind on privatisation proceeds but it will be explained to the IMF, said the official sources.