IMF programme off to good start, cannot be revised after only 3 months: Jihad Azour – Pakistan

The director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the Middle East and Central Asia, Jihad Azour, said Tuesday that the IMF loan program of $ 6 billion had been structured by the Pakistani government itself and that its objectives cannot be revised later of a span of only three months.

Azour arrived in Islamabad today along with an eight-member delegation to talk with senior government officials.

The visit is described as "routine" by both parties. A representative from the Ministry of Finance said that the delegation, headed by Azour and the Head of Mission in Pakistan, Ernesto Ramírez-Rigo, is here "to review the program as scheduled."

Azour, during a press conference in Islamabad together with financial advisor Hafeez Shaikh, said the program had a good start and said that very little time has elapsed since its inception.

"No changes are being made at the moment in the objectives of the program," he said.

Azour acknowledged the efforts made by Pakistan to bring stability to the economic imbalance facing the country. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had adequately assured that the program would be fulfilled and said that this would bring more economic stability to the country.

He also said that a 30 percent increase in revenue reported by the Federal Revenue Board was encouraging.

"I have come to support the measures taken under the program to introduce reforms," ​​he said, noting that the program was "headed in the right direction."

He said he would also hold meetings with representatives of the State Bank and the business community.

The financial advisor on the occasion said the government was taking all necessary measures to meet the objectives of the program. He said institutional reforms were also being introduced to support these efforts.

"The first two months have seen an improvement in interest rates and exchange rates," Shaikh said.

In the context of the recent attacks in Saudi Arabia against Aramco's oil facilities, Azour said "an uncertain future awaits countries that import oil. These countries must reduce their dependence on oil for energy production."

He said Pakistan's energy sector needs a complete renovation and stressed the need to reduce circular debt in the sector.

When asked, the IMF director said it was unreasonable to compare Egypt and Pakistan, "which are two completely different countries and economies."

The IMF delegation will visit soon in October or November for a review session, Azour said.



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