IMF says further discussions with Pakistan on fiscal spending plans, structural reforms needed

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ISLAMABAD:The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday said that further discussions with Pakistan are needed on Pakistan’s fiscal spending plans, structural reforms, particularly in the tax and energy sectors, and social spending. According to IMF spokesman Gerry Rice, the Fund is holding open, constructive discussions with Pakistan as part of a sixth review of the country’s 39-month, $6 billion financing programme that began in 2019. Rice declined to say if disbursements under that programme had been halted. IMF staff were unable to complete the talks during a recent mission, but the global lender remained “fully engaged” and aimed to resume the discussions in the period ahead, Rice told a regular IMF briefing. “We stand ready to continue to support Pakistan,” he said. “As the recovery gains strength, it will be important to accelerate the implementation of policies and reforms needed to address some of the long-standing challenges facing the Pakistani economy.” Pakistani authorities and IMF, for the time being, have agreed to continue talks to narrow down differences, but the IMF-sponsored programme has been put on halt mode as the international money lender has conveyed that the sixth review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) will be accomplished in September this year instead of July 2021.

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