Cash-strapped Pakistan reaches deal with IMF over stalled bailout package

Cash-strapped Pakistan and the IMF on Thursday signed a staff-level agreement after tough parleys, unlocking over $1 billion loan tranche under Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for the country’s ailing economy. 

A meeting took place between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation, where the mission informed the premier about the agreement. 

According to government sources, the two sides reached a consensus over the details of loans and Prime Minister Sharif also approved the deal. 

Finance minister Ishaq Dar was tasked to share it with the masses through the media. 

The two sides discussed all aspects of the ailing economy of Pakistan and the fund insisted on tough conditions, including increase in electricity and gas prices and raising new taxes, to bridge the gap in the budget deficit. 

The two sides had finally reached consensus over the details of the lending program. 

The IMF delegation led by Nathan Porter began talks on January 31 with the Pakistan side headed by Finance Minister Dar to sort out differences over the government’s fiscal policy that had stalled the release of over $1 billion from the bailout package. 

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