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Talks with Pakistan moving in a ‘very good’ manner: IMF official

Jihad Azour, IMF Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department, speaks during a press conference on October 19, 2021. — YouTube/IMF
Jihad Azour, IMF Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department, speaks during a press conference on October 19, 2021. — YouTube/IMF
  • IMF Regional Director Jihad Azour says the discussion around the 6th review is currently progressing around various pillars.
  • “The mission with the authorities is going through various details [sic],” he says.
  • Shaukat Tarin has returned to Washington DC to join ongoing discussions with IMF, Ministry of Finance says.

Talks between Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) are progressing in a “very good” manner, said IMF Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department Jihad Azour on Tuesday.

Unveiling the Regional Economic Outlook: The Middle East and Central Asia – October 2021, Azour said: “The discussion around the sixth review is currently progressing around various pillars.”

The IMF mission and Pakistani authorities are discussing the measures that the government of Pakistan is currently contemplating.

“The progress has gone in a very good step and the mission with the authorities is going through various details [sic],” he added.

‘Reports related to inconclusive talks with IMF baseless’

Earlier today, reacting to news reports regarding Pakistan’s policy-level talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the resumption of $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF), Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Muzammil Aslam negated all reports, terming them as “baseless.”

Aslam wrote on Twitter: “Shaukat Tarin, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, has returned to Washington DC to join ongoing discussions with IMF.”

On Sunday, the former finance minister Tarin had dismissed reports that the talks between Pakistan and IMF have failed, asserting that they were headed in a positive direction.

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“The talks are continuing,” Tarin had told reporters, after addressing members of the Pakistani community at the consulate general in New York on Sunday night during which he had said the government was working hard for an inclusive and sustainable economic growth that benefits all segments of the society, especially the poor.

He came to New York on Friday from Washington where, besides the loan talks, he attended the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, “I don’t know what’s the basis on which an impression has been given by some that the talks have failed — they are totally wrong,” he had said.

At this stage, the finance minister said that the final details were being worked out and the negotiations would conclude successfully.

Tarin had then informed the media that Finance Secretary Yusuf Khan was still in Washington pursuing the talks with IMF officials and that he was in contact with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman as well as with him for any advice.

“There was an atmosphere of positivity and the next few days would show a productive outcome from the talks,” he had said.

In this regard, Tarin had said his meeting with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and other Fund officials were also very “useful and positive.”

“The nation shouldn’t be disillusioned by some unfounded negative reports,” the finance minister added.

Asked whether the IMF was demanding that Pakistan do more, Tarin had said that every banker would ask for more when someone applies for a loan. Pakistan, he said, had its red lines to protect its interests, although it has been made clear that the government would pursue the reform process for sustainable growth.

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