IMF official says discussions progress to "a very good step"
The talks between a Pakistani delegation and an IMF team have progressed to a “very good step” after the discussion resumed in Washington DC to complete the 6h review for the next loan tranche under the IMF programme for Pakistan. Shaukat Tarin, the advisor to PM on finance, returned to Washington on Tuesday from New York to join the talks, his spokesman has said.
The talks were scheduled to complete on October 15 but the deadline ended with a deadlock, it emerged last week. However, Pakistan’s finance secretary prolonged his stay in Washinton and the talks resumed this week.
Shaukat Tarin and Governor State Bank Reza Baqir, meanwhile, left for New York for other engagements. Tarin and Baqir were then scheduled to leave for London. However, Tarin postponed his London visit and Baqir flew to London alone.
Tarin is now back in Washington to join talks, his spokesman Muzzammil Aslam tweeted on Tuesday. He once again denied that the talks had ended in failure.
IMF latest update: Mr. Shaukat Tarin, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, has returned to Washington DC to join ongoing discussions with IMF. Media reports related to inconclusive talks are baseless. @FinMinistryPak— Muzzammil Aslam (@MuzzammilAslam3) October 19, 2021
Tarin was the federal finance minister when he landed in Washington last week. His six-month tenure under the presidential ordinance ended and he has since been appointed advisor to the prime minister on finance.
IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department Director Jihad Azour briefed journalists on the renewed talks on Tuesday.
He said the discussions on the 6th review were progressing “around the various pillars of the program and the measures that the government of Pakistan is currently contemplating.”
“The progress has gone in a very good step,” the IMF official said.
Azour was referring to the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP) that needs to be reconciled before parties could come to an agreement.
MEFP is a document that lays down the macroeconomic framework for the country implementing the IMF programme.
The document requires extraordinary expertise as inserting wrong or unviable figures could result in the suspension of the IMF programme.
Last week it emerged that the IMF and Pakistani teams differed on key projections and the increase in prices. The IMF is said to have demanded a further hike in the electricity tariff on the account of petroleum prices hike.