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IMF bailout for Pakistan resumes after COVID-19

IMF to release $500m subject to board approval

SAMAA | - Posted: Feb 16, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Feb 16, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago

The International Monetary Fund has reached an agreement with Pakistan on measures to complete the second till fifth reviews of the authorities’ reform programme. The programme is supported by the IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF), which would release $500 million to Pakistan after the completion of the reviews.

“The package strikes an appropriate balance between supporting the economy, ensuring debt sustainability, and advancing structural reform,” said an IMF media release.

The reviews are pending subject to approval of the IMF Executive Board.

The COVID-19 pandemic temporarily disrupted Pakistan’s progress under the $6 billion EFF-supported programme last year.

“The policies and reforms implemented by the Pakistani authorities prior to the COVID-19 shock had started to reduce economic imbalances and set the conditions for improving economic performance,” said IMF Team lead Ernesto Ramirez Rigo.

“Most of the targets under the EFF-supported programme were on track to be met. However, the pandemic disrupted these improvements and required a shift in authorities’ priorities towards saving lives and supporting households and businesses,” he added.

“The State Bank of Pakistan’s monetary and exchange rate policies have served Pakistan well and were critical in helping to navigate the COVID-19 shock,” said.

He further said that the international reserves have increased since the start of the programme—with gross reserves almost doubling to $13 billion until January 2021 and net international reserves (NIR) increasing by over USD 9 billion until December 2020.

“The shock absorption displayed by the market-based exchange rate, allowed the SBP’s to pre-emptively proceed to a large easing of monetary policy, and a sizeable expansion of refinancing facilities,” Rigo said.

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