IMF rejects Pakistan’s claim MD initiated telephone call
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated on Sunday that Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif spoke on the latter’s request, a claim that suggests Islamabad has continued to engage in politics while being on the verge of default.
“The call took place in response to a request by the Prime Minister of Pakistan to discuss the International Conference on resilient Pakistan,” Even if it makes dubious claims of strength and has only $4.5 billion in foreign exchange reserves, it appears that the state is still not ready to change its ways.
Only three weeks’ worth of imports may be financed using the remaining funds. Pakistan has paid back $8.5 billion in debt during the past three months (January through March). Included in this is a $2 billion loan to the UAE for which the government is attempting to obtain a rollover.
Given the long-standing animosity between the two parties, such factually erroneous claims could make it harder for Pakistan to persuade the IMF. Due to its propensity to make pledges while receiving a loan tranche but then break them after the tranche has been released, the country has had a rough history with the IMF. This has led to a significant gap.
The PM had also claimed on Friday that the IMF mission would come to Pakistan in two to three days. “I asked her to send an IMF team for the completion of the pending 9th review of the programme so that the next loan tranche is released. She assured that the mission will visit [Pakistan] in the next two to three days,” Shehbaz had said.
The IMF spokeswoman, however, stated that the delegation “is expected to meet with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on the margins of the Geneva summit to discuss remaining concerns and the route forward” in a statement to the media.
The self-imposed deadline, which ends on Monday, for the 9th review mission’s arrival in Pakistan was not mentioned in the statement. On Saturday, it was revealed that due to significant debt repayments, Pakistan’s official foreign exchange reserves have for the first time dropped to a perilous level of $4.5 billion.