IMF mission to visit Pakistan ‘by end of April’ to continue talks

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ISLAMABAD: An IMF mission will visit Pakistan by the end of April to continue talks between the two sides regarding a bailout package, said the international money lender, on Monday.

According to a press release by the IMF, a mission of the monetary fund will visit Pakistan by the end of April to continue its talks with the government on a possible bailout package.

The IMF said that ‘constructive discussions’ had been held with the Pakistani authorities and IMF/World Bank during last week’s spring meetings and the mission will continue these talks.

Finance Minister Asad Umar and his team, comprising ministers of the government and other agencies’ representatives met a delegation of the IMF in New York last week. Some of the ministers stayed back in New York.

Asad Umar had said during his media briefing in New York that the two sides had almost reached an agreement.

“An agreement is expected to be reached between the government and the IMF by the end of this month,” the finance minister had said.

Dawn News quoted sources as saying that the IMF was keen on obtaining a guarantee from both China and Pakistan that the bailout package would not be used to repay Chinese loans.

The IMF is, according to the same report, also trying to obtain information about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and their details.

Asad Umar will travel to China on April 25 to discuss the IMF’s concerns regarding the CPEC and Chinese loans issue. The IMF mission will have to wait for him to return to hear his feedback.

Meanwhile, both sides are busy trying to amend the proposal. Pakistan, as per sources, thinks the IMF’s conditions are too tough while on the other hand the IMF is of the view that the conditions are essential.

Also read: Reports of IMF setting dollar rate are false, says finance minister

The IMF wants Pakistan to impose certain conditions such as ending income tax concessions, increasing tax on salaries, making the State Bank independent, enhancing the tax net t Rs5,000 billion and ensuring a market-oriented exchange rate, among others.