No condition in Pak program hindering polls: IMF

The Nation  |  Mar 24, 2023

ISLAMABAD    -    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that decisions regard­ing the constitutionality, feasibility and timing of provincial and general elections “rest solely with Pakistan’s institutions”, clarifying that there is “no requirement under Pakistan’s Extended Fund Facility-supported programme which could interfere with the country’s ability to under­take constitutional activities”.

The statement from the Fund comes a day after the Election Com­mission of Pakistan (ECP) decided to put off Punjab Assembly elections by more than five months, citing finan­cial and security constraints In a statement, IMF Res­ident Representative for Pakistan Esther Perez Ruiz said: “Targets un­der IMF-supported pro­grammes are set at the aggregate general govern­ment level (aggregating across federal and provin­cial government), and with­in these there is fiscal space to allocate or reprioritise spending and/or raise ad­ditional revenues to ensure constitutional activities can take place as required.” Cash-strapped Pakistan is in a race against time to im­plement measures to reach an agreement with the IMF. The agreement with the IMF on the completion of the ninth review of a $7 billion loan programme — which has been delayed since late last year over a policy framework — would not only lead to a disburse­ment of $1.2 billion but also unlock inflows from friend­ly countries.

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