A review mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is anticipated to engage in talks with Pakistan after the eagerly awaited general elections scheduled for February 8. The mission will specifically focus on discussions related to the $3 billion Standby Arrangement (SBA) program.
Uncertainty Surrounding Review Schedule
According to sources, the IMF has not yet confirmed the exact schedule for the second review. However, it is expected that the review talks will take place after the conclusion of the general elections. The completion date for the review was initially planned for March 1, 2024, but recent developments indicate a proposed schedule for March 15, 2024.
The existing SBA program is set to be completed on April 12, 2024. The question arises concerning how the transition from the SBA to another medium-term program will occur amidst a potential political transition in Pakistan. There were previous suggestions to conduct the second review during the caretaker setup, and it remains a possibility that the review might be concluded before the formation of the new government.
Preparations for Broader Agreements
Post-general elections, in April 2024, the IMF is expected to visit Pakistan once again. This visit aims to establish a broader agreement on a fresh medium-term loan program. The outcome of these agreements will play a crucial role in formulating the next budget for the fiscal year 2024-25. The onus will be on the incoming government to sign the new IMF program either before the budget announcement or before its approval by the elected parliament.
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The International Monetary Fund plays a pivotal role in shaping the economic landscape of countries, especially those facing financial challenges. For Pakistan, the upcoming review and subsequent agreements will influence its economic policies and strategies for the foreseeable future.
In conclusion, the post-election period in Pakistan is poised to be crucial not only for the formation of the new government but also for the economic trajectory, with the IMF review and agreements playing a significant role in shaping the country’s financial landscape.