ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has asked the Ministry of Finance to ensure that there is no violation of parameters set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the next budget to be presented on June 9.
An informed source said that in a meeting held between the PM and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Tuesday, there was optimism that the government would reach an agreement with the IMF.
Contrary to media reports that the government will give the usual election year popular budget, the source said: “Pakistan can’t afford any budget that violates the set basics of the IMF.”
The source said the prime minister was quite optimistic about the revival of the IMF programme after he had a long telephonic conversation with the managing director of the IMF a week back.
Shehbaz had contacted IMF MD Kristalina Georgieva to revive the derailed $6.5 billion bailout package.
The discussion between PM Shehbaz and Georgieva took place after the finance ministry could not break the deadlock over loan talks during the past four months.
According to the source, the prime minister was quite satisfied after his conversation with the IMF MD. In the same meeting, it was agreed that Pakistan would share budget details with the IMF.
The IMF MD, the source said, also hinted at a revival of the programme. For the same reason, PM Shehbaz on Monday told Turkish media that Pakistan was very hopeful of finalising a deal with the IMF this month.
“We are still very hopeful that the IMF programme will materialise. Our ninth review by the IMF will match all terms and conditions and, hopefully, we’ll have some good news this month,” he told Anadolu in Ankara.
The prime minister was in Ankara for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inauguration ceremony. PM Shehbaz said Pakistan had met all conditions.
“Some of those actions are usually met after the board’s approval, but this time the IMF required that those actions be met before the board’s approval, so we have met them,” he was quoted by the Turkish news agency as saying.