The signing of the staff-level agreement (SLA) between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is dependent on confirmation of financial support from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Once support confirmation is received from KSA and UAE, the SLA will be signed with the IMF.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar reportedly informed diplomats in Islamabad at an Iftar dinner on Sunday that the issues with the IMF will be settled soon. However, it has been 46 days since the IMF and Pakistan concluded review talks in Islamabad on February 9, and the staff-level agreement is yet to be secured.
There have also been dissenting views within the Finance Ministry on the issue of cross-fuel subsidy. While some bureaucrats from the ministry have opposed the scheme, the government went public with it, which has caused concern.
Officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity told The News, that such schemes would jeopardize the revival of the IMF program, and it remains to be seen how the ministry will satisfy the global lender on the subsidy. The status of the 10th and 11th reviews, which were due on February 3 and May 3, respectively, is also unknown at this time, even if the IMF program is revived.
The situation highlights the importance of financial support from KSA and UAE to Pakistan, as well as the potential impact of domestic policy decisions on the country’s relationship with the IMF. Despite Finance Minister Dar’s assurances, it is unclear when the SLA will be signed, and how the subsidy issue will be resolved.
As the reviews remain in question, the situation underscores the need for Pakistan to address economic challenges and seek support from its allies to maintain its financial stability.
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