Staff-level agreement with IMF expected in ‘next few days’: Ishaq Dar

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has given yet another date for inking the deal with the International Monetary Fund. This time, according to his hopes, the agreement would be signed in the “next few days”.
“We seem to be very close to signing the staff level agreement [with IMF] hopefully Inshallah in the next few days,” Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said at a ceremony in Islamabad.
He admitted that the process of the ninth review “took longer than it should have” while vowing that he and his team would complete the IMF programme.
Dar said: “I and my team have decided that, in a short period of time, we will implement and we will discharge all the sovereign commitments that the previous government had made.”
However, the minister went on to say, the government had realised that these obligations were not made by an individual but by the sovereign state of Pakistan and decided to honour the commitments.
“We have been in the process of the 9th review which has taken longer than it should have […] we seem to be very close to signing the staff-level agreement, hopefully in the next two days,” Dar added.
The agreement with the IMF on the completion of the ninth review of a $7bn loan programme — which has been delayed since late last year over a policy framework — would not only lead to a disbursement of $1.2bn but also unlock inflows from friendly countries.
The prerequisites by the lender are aimed at ensuring Pakistan shrinks its fiscal deficit ahead of its annual budget around June.
Pakistan has already taken most of the other prior actions, which included hikes in fuel and energy tariffs, the withdrawal of subsidies in export and power sectors, and generating more revenues through new taxation in a supplementary budget.