Miftah says he expects IMF Board approval in August

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Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail has said that approval of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Board for the disbursement of $1,177 million to Pakistan will materialise in the third or fourth week of August.

“Most probably August 26 is the date of board approval,” said Miftah while talking to a private channel.

The development comes after the IMF team reached a staff-level agreement (SLA) with Pakistan authorities for the conclusion of the combined seventh and eighth reviews of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) on Thursday.

“Subject to Board approval, about $1,177 million (SDR 894 million) will become available, bringing total disbursements under the programme to about $4.2 billion,” said the IMF in its statement. The agreement also covered an additional $1 billion and a nine-month extension of the EFF programme.

Meanwhile, the federal minister informed that the government has taken all prior actions required for the approval.

“Therefore, after the staff-level agreement, the approval from the board could be considered a formality,” he said.

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He said the development also paves way for funding from other international creditors including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) among others.

“Pakistan can easily borrow money from multilateral institutions,” he said.

About commodity prices, Miftah said prices of products like edible oil and wheat are decreasing in the international markets, and the benefit will be passed on to the public as well.

He said the government is making all-out efforts to address the issues of governance and circular debt.

The finance minister added that the government took tough decisions to save the country from default and to steer it out of its current economic crisis.

The federal minister informed that the government is working on a solar energy policy, and is taking steps to facilitate the farmer community by shifting tube wells to solar. “We are planning to set up a 5,000-6,000MW solar power plant in Pakistan,” he said.

To a question about revenue generation, he said the government is planning to generate Rs30 to 40 billion from the trade sector through a fixed tax.

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