Finance Division requests IMF to postpone sixth review

The Finance Division has officially requested the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reschedule the meeting of the Executive Board for the consideration of the sixth review till end of this month, according to a press release issued on Sunday.

The review of the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) by the board was scheduled to be held on January 12 to decide the disbursement of about $1bn tranche for which the government had tabled the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2021, generally known as mini-budget, for approval in the National Assembly on December 30.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Amendment Bill 2021 was also presented in the House, which was referred to the relevant standing committee for vetting.

However, as the proceedings started, despite the absence of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, opposition members tore copies of the agenda and surrounded the speaker’s dais.

“Government of Pakistan has introduced both the bills in the National Assembly and [the] IMF has moved the 6th tranche recommendation to its board for consideration on the 12th January,” the press release stated.

Read: Cabinet meets another IMF condition for $1b loan

The IMF board will consider the approval of the sixth review and the release of the $1 billion tranche under the EFF as soon as the legislative procedures are completed, the communique added.

The government is once again all set to convene the NA session on Monday (today) to present amendments relating to taxes and duties as the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2021.

Earlier, it was reported that the IMF decided to replace its mission chief to Pakistan, Ernesto Rigo, amid chances that the executive board of the fund will not take up Pakistan’s request for the revival of $6 billion loan programme previously scheduled on January 12.

Sources said that the IMF had decided to replace its Washington-based mission chief to Pakistan. Rigo had finalised loan negotiations with Pakistan in May 2019, which were started by his predecessor Herald Finger in November 2018.

The IMF has not yet formally announced the replacement of Rigo, who has now been appointed the mission chief to Lebanon – another country that is passing through a crisis and is in negotiations with the IMF.