Pakistan ‘assures’ IMF of expediting privitisation programme

Islamabad: The government of Pakistan has ‘assured’ the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of expediting the privatisation program.

The privatisation of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) is proceeding as per the plan and efforts are underway to complete the process soon.

Sources said that the federal government has also prepared a plan to privatise the power-sharing companies. The other loss-making state-owned enterprises including First Women Bank, state life insurance, Pakistan Engineering Company are also on the list.

Sources revealed yesterday that Pakistan is likely to sign the staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next week.

The signing of staff level agreement with the IMF will clear the way for Pakistan to receive the last tranche of $1.1 billion under the SBA Agreement, the sources said.

They further said that during the talks with the IMF, Pakistan’s officials assured the international lender of jacking up the electricity tariff from July 1, while monthly, quarterly and yearly fuel adjustments will be slapped on consumers for cost recovery.

Earlier, the Pakistan government rejected the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) demand for a National Finance Commission (NFC) Award revisit, said sources.

Citing the shortage of federal funds, the IMF had asked Islamabad to revisit the NFC Award with the provinces during the second review talks under the $3 billion loan programme under SBA.

The IMF delegation is currently in Pakistan for the second review under the SBA loan programme.

It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan secured a $3 billion IMF stand-by arrangement last summer, but the country is still struggling with record inflation, currency devaluation and shrinking foreign reserves.