Panel finalised for SBP deputy chief.

ISLAMABAD -- The government has finalised a panel for the appointment of new deputy governor of the central bank and also notified a new senior adviser to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as the vacation of both positions in the past few months was proving costly for Pakistan.

The government notified Saifullah Dogar as senior adviser to the executive director of the IMF after the global lender endorsed Pakistan's nomination. Dogar is currently serving as a joint secretary in the external finance wing and is dealing with IMF affairs.

The position of the senior adviser had been vacant for over three months after Dr Saeed Ahmad completed his term. Ahmad is likely to be appointed as the new deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), as his name tops a three-candidate panel for the post.

According to sources, the finance ministry on Tuesday dispatched a summary to the Cabinet Division for placement before the cabinet for its decision. The other two candidates are Ashraf Khan and Qasim Nawaz, who are currently serving in the central bank.

Dogar was interviewed by the IMF a few days ago and after that his three-year appointment notification was issued by Pakistan. He will take charge of his responsibilities later next month. A finance ministry official confirmed the new appointment at the IMF.

The appointment of the senior adviser is being made at a time when Pakistan's relations with the IMF are seemingly strained. After meeting many harsh conditions like increasing electricity, gas and fuel prices, and jacking up interest rate, the government suddenly made an irrational move by announcing a petrol subsidy of Rs50 per litre. IMF's Resident Representative Esther Perez told The Express Tribune that Pakistan did not consult it in advance before announcing the subsidy and the IMF had sought details, which included 'protections against fraud and abuse'.

Sources said that the government's subsidy decision had further increased difficulties for the finance ministry, which was already struggling to convince the IMF to announce a staff-level agreement.

Dogar will not only have to deal with these difficulties brought about by the derailed programme, but will also have to lay the groundwork for a new IMF programme.

Pakistan's continued erratic and fiscally irresponsible decisions have created a wide gulf between Islamabad and the IMF staff, management and executive board. Nobody is ready to trust Pakistan anymore, according to...

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