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Pakistan met performance criteria, completed structural benchmarks: IMF

Pakistan met performance criteria, completed structural benchmarks: IMF

GENEVA/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has achieved all of its economic goals in terms of performance, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in an end-of-mission press release issued Friday pertaining to its 10-day talks with the government.

“Considerable progress has been made in the last few months in advancing reforms and continuing with sound economic policies,” the global financial body said.

The IMF further noted in its statement that “all end-December performance criteria were met and structural benchmarks have been completed” and in terms of performance, Pakistan achieved all economic targets.

“Steadfast progress on program implementation will pave the way for the IMF Executive Board’s consideration of the review,” it said, adding that “development and social spending have been accelerated” through programme implementation.

The financial body asked Pakistan “to reduce its trade and commerce reliance on Beijing” and look for other international options by signing free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries as well, according to senior finance ministry sources, bringing a new challenge as Islamabad was not prepared to even reconsider this position.

A top official quoted the IMF team as saying during their interaction that without the reform plan, however, it would not show leniency over the FBR’s inability to maximise revenues efforts. The body stressed that the Pakistani government must correct the situation halfway instead of waiting for the next fiscal year if the need arises.

Secondly, the PTI government was opposed to hiking electricity and gas tariffs for the next 12-18 months as Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked relevant ministries to freeze tariffs for a certain period. However, the IMF highlighted that the cash-bleeding losses would not be curtailed if there was no cost recovery of energy utilities.