The Director of the Middle East and Central Asian Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Jihad Azour, has expressed confidence that a Staff Level Agreement (SLA) with Pakistan will be signed soon, followed by approval from the IMF Board
. This statement was made during a Zoom meeting with Pakistan’s Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, as per an official press statement from the Ministry of Finance. Azour expressed hope that Pakistan would continue its progress on reforms in various sectors and successfully complete the IMF program within the designated timeframe, with the IMF playing a positive role in bringing economic stability to Pakistan.
During the meeting, discussions were held on the ongoing IMF program, including talks with the IMF Mission during their visit to Pakistan and the implementation of prior actions. Dar informed the IMF team about the economic challenges faced by the country and shared the government’s vision for achieving macroeconomic stability. He also mentioned that all prior actions for the 9th Review under the Extended Fund Facility have been completed, and the government is fully committed to fulfilling its obligations as agreed with the IMF. Dar noted that the only successful completion of an IMF program was during his previous tenure as finance minister.
Director Jihad Azour expressed confidence that the Staff Level Agreement (SLA) would be signed soon, followed by approval from the IMF Board. He hoped that Pakistan would continue its progress on reforms and complete the IMF program in a timely manner, with the IMF playing a positive role in bringing economic stability. Dar thanked Director Azour and his team for their support in completing the 9th Review.
However, Pakistan has not yet received confirmation on an additional $1 billion in deposits from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which remains the last stumbling block in reaching a staff-level agreement, as per sources in the Finance Ministry. The government has been in contact with UAE authorities to resolve this issue, but the timeline for confirmation from UAE remains uncertain.
The resolution of issues for the 10th and 11th reviews under the $6.5 billion Extended Fund Facility is also not known at this time. One option being considered is to extend the time-frame of the EFF program to bridge the financing gap between the program’s expiry and the possibility of obtaining a fresh IMF program.