Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Tuesday that Pakistan expects a decision on the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) stalled bailout programme within a day or two as the struggling country continues to meet the lender’s demands.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held a phone meeting with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Tuesday during which he expressed hope for a decision by the lender within a day or two regarding the release of the next tranche.

Pakistan’s deal with the IMF under the 2019 Extended Fund Facility (EFF) is due to expire on June 30, but the country’s ninth review for the release of a $1.2 billion tranche is pending.

Over the phone, Georgieva assured the premier that the IMF also wishes for Pakistan’s economic situation to improve. She acknowledged the steps taken by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and his team towards completing the IMF programme in view of meetings held with the premier in Paris, according to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Shehbaz, in turn, assured the IMF MD that his government was determined to achieve its goal of improving the country’s economic situation through joint efforts and hoped for an answer from the fund in the coming days.

The IMF tranche was expected to be released in October last year but it has hung in balance for the past eight months as the Fund claims the country has yet to meet crucial prerequisites.

As the deadline for the programme inches closer, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government has intensified last-ditch efforts to ensure the release of the bailout package. Back-to-back meetings were held during the premier’s visit to Paris last week on the sidelines of the New Global Financial Pact summit.

The only major positive outcome of these meetings though was that the officials in Islamabad went back to the drawing board and resumed talks with the IMF staff to minimise differences, according to sources in the finance ministry.

However, after revising the budget in line with Fund’s demands, the government holds renewed hope and expects progress towards securing the loan and receiving a Memorandum for Economic and Financial Policy (MEFP).



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