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We stand ready to continue to support Pakistan, says IMF

IMF refused to say if disbursements under the financing programme had been halted but said further discussions were needed about Pakistan's fiscal spending plans, structural reforms, particularly in the tax and energy sectors, and social spending.

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) 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, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said on Thursday

Mr. RICE: I want to take a question on Pakistan: what’s the status of the sixth review of Pakistan’s reform program that’s being supported by the IMF. And what concerns do we have regarding budget announcements made by the government?

What I can tell you is that we welcome the open, constructive discussions we’re having with the Pakistani authorities.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) 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, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said on Thursday

Mr. RICE: I want to take a question on Pakistan: what’s the status of the sixth review of Pakistan’s reform program that’s being supported by the IMF. And what concerns do we have regarding budget announcements made by the government?

What I can tell you is that we welcome the open, constructive discussions we’re having with the Pakistani authorities. We stand ready to continue to support Pakistan as to achieving its objectives of debt sustainability and strong and sustainable growth. This will require continued discussion on the sustainable fiscal path, structural reforms, particularly on the tax and energy sectors, and social spending enhancements envisaged in the authorities’ reform program that’s supported by the IMF resources.

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As the recovery gains strength, it will be important to accelerate the implementation of policies and reforms needed to address some of the longstanding challenges facing the Pakistani economy and while the recent mission could not complete these discussions, we remain fully engaged with the authorities aiming to resume the discussions in the period ahead. That’s what I have on Pakistan. I’m turning back to colleagues on video if there are any further questions.

QUESTIONER: Sorry. Very quickly, a question for you on Pakistan, just for clarity. An opposition lawmaker had said that recently caused a bit of confusion by saying that the IMF had stopped its disbursement on the $6 billion program. Can you clarify where that program stands and whether disbursement continues or is suspended? Just a quick follow up on the earlier question.

Mr. RICE: Where we are with Pakistan is that we are in discussions on the next review. Those discussions are ongoing, they are open, I would characterize them as constructive, and that’s where we are.

I am going to leave it there for the time being, I want to thank you all on screen today. This will require continued discussion on the sustainable fiscal path, structural reforms, particularly on the tax and energy sectors, and social spending enhancements envisaged in the authorities’ reform program that’s supported by the IMF resources.

As the recovery gains strength, it will be important to accelerate the implementation of policies and reforms needed to address some of the longstanding challenges facing the Pakistani economy and while the recent mission could not complete these discussions, we remain fully engaged with the authorities aiming to resume the discussions in the period ahead. That’s what I have on Pakistan. I’m turning back to colleagues on video if there are any further questions.

QUESTIONER: Sorry. Very quickly, a question for you on Pakistan, just for clarity. An opposition lawmaker had said that recently caused a bit of confusion by saying that the IMF had stopped its disbursement on the $6 billion program. Can you clarify where that program stands and whether disbursement continues or is suspended? Just a quick follow up on the earlier question.

Mr. RICE: Where we are with Pakistan is that we are in discussions on the next review. Those discussions are ongoing, they are open, I would characterize them as constructive, and that’s where we are.

I am going to leave it there for the time being, I want to thank you all on screen today.

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