See More on Facebook

Business, Economics

IMF to visit Pakistan in April

IMF says its mission will visit Pakistan ‘before end of April to continue constructive discussions’.


Written by

Updated: April 16, 2019

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday said that it held “constructive discussions” with Pakistani authorities during last week’s spring meetings in Washington and that its mission will be visiting Pakistan “before the end of April to continue the discussions” on a bailout package.

The announcement was made by the Office of the Resident Representative of the IMF in a press release following reports that the IMF mission’s visit of Pakistan for finalising the package may be delayed as both sides are still engaged in an intense discussion.

“The Pakistani authorities and IMF staff held constructive discussions during the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC towards an IMF-supported programme,” the IMF statement said.

“At the request of the authorities, an IMF mission will be going to Pakistan before the end of April to continue the discussions.”

Meanwhile, Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar said that an “agreement in principle has been reached on all outstanding issues with IMF” and that “formalities will now be finalised during the IMF’s staff level visit to Pakistan”.

It is pertinent to mention here that Finance Minister Asad Umar, who led the Pakistani delegation at the spring meetings, had also said earlier this month that the mission would visit Islamabad soon and an agreement should be signed by the end of this month.

The finance minister went to New York on Friday but his team, which includes senior officials of his ministry and other government agencies, stayed in Washington for further talks — Dawn reported.

At a Thursday night news briefing in Washington, Umar had said the two sides had “more or less, reached an understanding” on the bailout package and “in a day or two, we hope to reach a full agreement”.

Another official familiar with the Pakistan-IMF talks said, “Islamabad still hopes to conclude the agreement before June, as they believe the bailout package would help budget prospects.”

The sources said that IMF officials were also seeking details of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), along with a written guarantee from both Pakistan and China that the IMF assistance will not be used to repay loans to China.

The finance minister is likely to visit China on April 25 for talks on the IMF concerns over CPEC and IMF will wait to hear from him before it finalises the bailout package, the sources said.

Meanwhile, both sides are engaged in “fine-tuning” the details of the proposed IMF programme. Pakistan wants the IMF to review some of the conditions it has attached to the package while the IMF insists that those conditions are absolutely essential for a successful completion of the programme.

Pakistanis point out that this would be their 14th package with the IMF, if finalised. They argue that the conditions attached to previous programmes were also not fully implemented because they were too restrictive. Pakistan wants the IMF to focus on long-term structural reforms that help revive its economy instead of attaching conditions that would be difficult to implement.

During negotiations on the new package, the Pakistani delegation told the IMF that they “do not want to commit to what we cannot implement”.

When asked how much money did Pakistan expect from the IMF, a source said: “The amount and length of the programme also depends on the nature of the package. If the conditions are too restrictive, Pakistan would expect a larger package, i.e. more assistance for a longer period.”

Some of the conditions proposed by the IMF include: making the State Bank independent, a market-oriented exchange rate, expanding the tax target by Rs5,000 billion, ending income tax concessions, more taxes on salaries, narrowing the amount of taxable income from Rs12 lakh a year to Rs4 lakh, reducing electricity and gas losses, no government interference in Nepra and Ogra policies, Rs140 billion electricity and gas revenue losses be recovered from consumers.

The sticking points, however, are the demands for market-determined exchange rates and sharing details of Chinese loans which Pakistan is reluctant to do.

The IMF insists on full disclosure of all financial cooperation between Pakistan and China, including assistance related to infrastructure development, nuclear power plants, joint manufacturing of JF-17 Thunder fighter jets and procurement of submarines.

The IMF is also demanding details of more than $6.5bn of commercial loans Pakistan has received from China in the past two-and-a-half years.

In July, China also deposited $2bn with the State Bank of Pakistan.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Dawn
About the Author: Dawn is Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Business, Economics

7 of 10 Filipinos worried by presence of Chinese workers

China has increased its presence in the archipelago. The rising presence of Chinese workers in the country worry seven out of 10 adult Filipinos, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, as the government recently launched a crackdown against Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos) which mostly employ Chinese nationals. The noncommissioned survey, conducted from Sept. 27 to 30, found that 31 percent “worried a great deal,” while 39 percent are “somewhat worried.” Highest in Metro Manila The proportion of those who were worried about the increasing number of Chinese workers in the country was highest in Metro Manila at 75 percent, followed by the Visayas at 71 percent, Luzon outside Metro Manila (69 percent) and Mindanao (67 percent.) About half of the respondents agree that the rising number of Chinese workers is a threat to national secur


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 6, 2019

Business, Economics

Pakistan to launch Digital Pakistan Vision

Imran hopes to unleash ‘potential of youth and women’ with new venture. Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that with the introduction of the ‘Digital Pakistan Vision’, the full potential of the contribution of youth and the women to the economy will be unleashed. According to a press release from the Prime Minister Office: “The Vision sets Pakistan’s digital ambition and has been designed for the government and the private sector to work towards a digitally progressive and inclusive Pakistan.” Speaking at the launch ceremony of the initiative, the prime minister regretted not having launched it at the very beginning when his government was formed. “I should have given attention to Digital Pakistan earlier. This is the most important thing for Pakistan right now, especially its youth. The whole world is moving forward digitally and we have been l


By Dawn
December 6, 2019

Business, Economics

Huawei asks US court to overturn ban

The company is suing the FCC, the latest in a series of legal tussles. The legal battle between Huawei Technologies Co and United States government intensified on Thursday. The Chinese tech heavyweight announced a legal challenge to the US Federal Communications Commission, seeking to overturn the latter’s order that bans telecom carriers from buying the company’s equipment via federal subsidies. The move is the latest push by the world’s largest telecom equipment maker to pursue fair competition and treatment amid a slate of restrictions from Washington. Analysts said the FCC ban would have very limited impact on Huawei’s financial performance, but labeling the company as a national security threat would cause far-reaching reputational harm. In a petition filed in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Thursday, Huawei asked the court to declare the FCC order un


By China Daily
December 6, 2019

Business, Economics

Thailand looks to become LNG hub

Energy Minister Sontirat Songtijirawong declared at a conference. The Energy Policy Administration Committee today (December 4) acknowledged the guidelines for turning Thailand into the regional trading hub of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The guidelines came about from a study assigned by the government-appointed energy reform committee to PTT. Energy Minister Sontirat Songtijirawong said that the move was estimated to generate Bt165 billion for Thailand’s economy between 2020 and 2030. The country is expected to start full commercial trading late next year or early in 2021. Thailand has potential to become the regional hub due to its high demand of LNG and its geographical location as the centre of countries with high LNG demand, namely China, India, Japan, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Moreover, Thailand has a supportive infrastructure to serve regional LNG tradi


By The Nation (Thailand)
December 5, 2019

Business, Economics

S. Korean negotiator hopes for ‘win-win’ burden-sharing deal with US

Trump has accused Korea of not paying its fair share of defense costs. South Korea’s top negotiator in defense cost-sharing talks with the United States said Monday that he believes the two sides will be able to strike a “win-win” deal based on their common understanding of the bilateral alliance. Jeong Eun-bo, the top envoy to the Special Measures Agreement negotiations, made the comment upon arriving at Washington’s Dulles International Airport ahead of the fourth round of talks slated for Tuesday and Wednesday. The previous round of talks in Seoul last month was cut short, publicly displaying the rift between the allies over how to share the costs for the stationing of 28,500 American troops in South Korea.


By The Korea Herald
December 3, 2019

Business, Economics

Is Vietnam an attractive place for Samsung chip plant?

The tech giant already has manufacturing plants in the country. Is Vietnam a good place for chipmakers to consider building a high-tech plant? In light of a request by the Vietnamese head of state to Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest chipmaker, many in South Korea are asking whether it is a viable business move. In a private meeting held in Seoul on Thursday, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong to consider building a chip manufacturing facility there. The Korean tech giant already has production plants for mobile phones and other IT devices in the country. Following the re


By The Korea Herald
December 2, 2019