Despite Pakistan’s best efforts to persuade the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to issue a $1.1 billion loan tranche, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar cancelled his trip to the US.
According to a source, the finance minister has cancelled his trip, citing the “domestic state of political affairs” as the cause.
Dar was scheduled to attend the World Bank-IMF spring meetings, which were scheduled to take place in Washington from April 10 to 16.
Meanwhile, he was expected to meet with IMF management to discuss the elimination of barriers to the resumption of the delayed $6.5 billion programme.
Since the end of January, Islamabad has been negotiating with the IMF for the release of $1.1 billion from a $6.5 billion rescue package agreed upon in 2019. To free up the funds, the government has reduced subsidies, abolished an artificial exchange rate cap, increased taxes, and boosted fuel costs.
However, guarantees from friendly nations about more cash have caused the agreement to be postponed.
On his tour to the US, the finance czar was also slated to visit the UAE, where he was supposed to hold talks with officials in order to obtain approval on another $1 billion deposit from them, which might pave the way for the staff-level deal with the IMF.
While Dar has withdrawn from the trip, a Pakistani delegation, led by Finance Secretary Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh and Economic Affairs Secretary Kazim Niaz, will attend the WB-IMF spring meetings. On the sidelines of the sessions, the delegation will meet with IMF officials in an attempt to persuade them to deliver the next tranche to Pakistan.
Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Jameel Ahmad, will also accompany the Pakistani delegation to the United States.