• Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Reduce dependency on China, IMF asks Pakistan

FILE PHOTO: A loaded truck travels through a newly built tunnel in northern Pakistan’s Gojal Valley. (Photo AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

THE IMF has urged Pakistan to reduce reliance on trade and commerce ties with China.

The global agency said that the country should ink more Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with other countries.

An IMF  mission, led by Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, visited Islamabad during February 3-13, to initiate discussions on the second review of the authorities’ economic reform program supported under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement.

IMF also demanded to reduce the revenue-expenditure gap and fix the cash bleeding energy sector.

The Pakistan Ministry of Finance and other officials claimed in their background discussions that there was no “deadlock” and the staff-level agreement would be finalized anytime soon.

The delegation came for the second review of Pakis­tan’s performance under the $6 billion bailout package signed in July 2019.

The completion of the review against a significantly modified 39-month programme in November 2019 would determine if the government would secure disbursement in March of another tranche of about $450 million direly needed to build market confidence and foreign exchange reserves.

The review is taking place at a time the government has suffered a revenue shortfall of about $2 billion in the first seven months of the current fiscal against the target of $17 billion.

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