IMF calls for energy sector reforms in Pakistan as discussions conclude

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Islamabad: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has emphasised the necessity for reforms within Pakistan’s energy sector as a critical step towards economic improvement, ARY News reported. In a statement, the IMF disclosed that discussions with Pakistani authorities were successfully concluded on Thursday, marking the culmination of deliberations initiated by an IMF team led by mission chief Nathan Porter upon their arrival in Pakistan on May 13.

Porter asserted, “The mission and the authorities will continue policy discussions virtually over the coming days aiming to finalise discussions, including the financial support needed to underpin the authorities’ reform efforts from the IMF and Pakistan’s bilateral and multilateral partners.”

He further outlined key areas for improvement, stating, “Continue progress towards low and stable inflation by appropriate monetary and exchange rate policies; improve public service provision through state-owned enterprise (SOE) restructuring and privatization; and promote private sector development, by securing a level-playing field for investment and stronger governance.”

Following the completion of a short-term USD 3 billion programme last month, Pakistan is engaging with the IMF for a new loan programme, potentially seeking at least USD 6 billion. Additionally, the country is expected to request additional financing from the IMF under the Resilience and Sustainability Trust.

Highlighting the prevailing economic challenges, the IMF had earlier cautioned that downside risks for the Pakistani economy remained exceptionally high. Porter reiterated the goals of the reform program, emphasizing its aim to transition Pakistan from economic stabilization to robust, inclusive, and resilient growth, as reported by ARY News.

Pakistan is expected to request a minimum of USD 6 billion through the new program and may also seek extra funding from the IMF through the Resilience and Sustainability Trust. The IMF has stressed that focusing on reforms to rejuvenate the Pakistani economy is more important than the exact size of the upcoming loan package. Earlier this month, the IMF cautioned that significant risks persist for the Pakistani economy.

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