IMF chief says agreement with Pakistan expected after first funding review

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Wednesday said the agreement for the release of the second tranche, amounting to $3 billion under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) with Pakistan, was expected this week. “I expect an agreement of the review to come within this week,” Georgieva said in an interview. The confirmation from the top official comes amid reports of the IMF advising Pakistan against creating a group of preferred investors or distortions in the country under the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) and to ensure transparency and accountability in its business deals. The IMF executive board had approved the much-needed nine-month SBA with Pakistan “to support its economic stabilisation programme”. The approval had allowed for an immediate disbursement of $1.2bn, with the rest to be phased over the programme’s duration — subject to two quarterly reviews. If the second quarterly review is successful, it will allow for the release of the second tranche worth $710m. The IMF’s technical staff initiated the first evaluation of the short-term loan agreement on Nov 2, which concluded on Nov 10. The two sides were reported to have had back-and-forth clarifications on Tuesday on the finalisation of the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP) and were expecting to conclude the talks on a positive note on Wednesday (today).