The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to renew Pakistan’s stalled loan programme on March 24 as the government moved forward to show progress over the 18 conditions after keeping pending for over a year.
Sources confirmed that the IMF executive board will be meeting in the last week of March to approve Pakistan’s request for completion of second to fourth reviews and likely to make changes in many performance criterias and structural benchmarks that had been agreed at the staff level. The approval will make way for the release of the third loan tranche of $500 million, they said.
Total disbursements by the IMF after approval of the next loan tranche will be close to $2 billion out of the $6 billion programme.
However, Official documents showed that Pakistan was required to make progress and implement at least 32 major conditions to get the programme revived.
The conditions include bridging reforms in the main sectors including power, tax collection, fiscal management, reducing loss in govt owned organizations giving autonomy to the central bank, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) and increasing cost of utilities.
The IMF had also imposed a condition to increase gas prices, which the government did late last year. Ogra has already notified a hike in gas prices for sectors like compressed natural gas (CNG) outlets, power producers, general industry and export-oriented industry.
The increase in electricity prices, both on an annual and quarterly basis as part of the IMF conditions. The government has already done that. Similarly, the government has also approved a new budget to meet another IMF prior to action.