ISLAMABAD: In a sigh of relief for the cash-strapped nation, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Nathan Porter will meet Pakistani authorities this week to discuss a new bailout programme under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), confirmed the global lender on Friday. Addressing a press briefing, IMF Communication Director Julie Kozack said: “Right now, a mission team led by Nathan Porter, our mission chief, is meeting with the authorities this week to discuss the next phase of our engagement with Pakistan.” Last week, the IMF support team reached Pakistan to hold talks regarding the South Asian nation’s request for a fresh bailout package under the EFF. Pakistan has made a formal request for a fresh bailout package of $6-$8 billion under the EFF with the possibility to be augmented through climate finance. Responding to a question, Kozack said: “On April 29th of this year, our Executive Board completed the second review of the stand-by arrangement for Pakistan, allowing a disbursement of about $1.1 billion. “The completion by our Board of the second and final review of the stand-by arrangement reflected the authority’s strong policy efforts during the time of the standby, which did help stabilisation of the economy.” To another query, she said: “There is a mission on the ground, we will wait for them to complete their work and we will communicate the findings of the mission in due course.” Earlier this week, a senior official of the IMF confirmed that a team of the Washington-based lender would reach Pakistan to hold talks with Islamabad over a bailout package. As per IMF’s Resident Representative for Pakistan Esther Perez Ruiz, a team led by IMF’s Mission Chief to Pakistan Nathan Porter would meet Pakistani authorities “to discuss the next phase of engagement”.She had further stressed that the aim of the negotiations was to “lay the foundation for better governance and stronger, more inclusive, and resilient economic growth that will benefit all Pakistanis”.Sources told Geo News that the team, during their stay which is expected to exceed 10 days, would receive data from different departments and would also discuss the upcoming budget for the fiscal year 2025 (FY2025), with the Ministry of Finance officials. The Washington-based lender, in its report issued earlier this month, had expressed doubts over Pakistan’s ability to successfully repay the Fund. “Pakistan’s capacity to repay the fund is subject to significant risks and remains critically dependent on policy implementation and timely external financing,” the IMF said in its report.



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