Govt ready to meet all IMF demands to revive loan programme.

ISLAMABAD -- Conveying its willingness to accept all the four major conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the government on Thursday requested the lender to send its mission to Pakistan at the earliest, preferably next week, to conclude a long-awaited agreement to revive the loan programme.

'We have completed our workings on all four areas on the basis of our interactions on the sidelines of the Geneva conference,' a senior member of the government told Dawn after weeklong consultations, including at least two sessions presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif through a video link from Lahore.

'We are ready to move ahead with reforms committed under the programme and we plan to implement all decisions during the course of talks with the proposed IMF mission,' the official said.

Secretary Finance Hamed Yaqoob Shaikh has formally written to the IMF mission chief to visit Pakistan.

Another participant said that the IMF bailout package was a panacea for all chaAlAAlenges Pakistan faced today and there was no other exit route from default, which was the Fund mission had been reAAquested to sit across the table and finalise everything.

He said the reason for not taking the required actions to convince the Fund to field the mission was that all decisions involved significant challenges and unless balanced with countermeasures could further aggravate the situation in an already bruised economy.

With an increase in the central bank's policy rate to check inflation, the debt servicing cost could go up. Besides, increasing electricity and gas rates would stoke up inflation, he said.

About Rs70-80 billion revenue is being targeted to be charged to banks who had enjoyed lofty profits out of foreign exchange operations but the remaining Rs150bn or so has to be met through other sources like flood levy on imports.

Therefore, the government might take some actions that the IMF find insufficient to meet the target and require additional steps that might not be viable...

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