US to aid Pakistan in renewal of IMF agreement

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) put an end to the disbursement of approximately $3bn after the previous government began to withdraw from its promises made in its $6bn, 39-month Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

Although subsidies on petroleum products have been removed, Islamabad has become a ‘desperate borrower’ from the decrease of its foreign currency reserves and talks have been held, the IMF is still demanding that more be done and its staff has not shared the first draft of the Memorandum of Financial and Economic Policies (MEFP) with Pakistani. Without this draft, which is the basis of consensus, a move to a staff-level agreement cannot be achieved.

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In light of this situation, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and State Minister for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha have been reported to have held a meeting on Thursday with the ambassador of the US.

According to sources, Pakistan will need ‘contacts’ with the US Treasury high-ups for support after reaching an agreement on the framework and an official said, “Without broader agreement on the basis of framework, no one could help Pakistan.” He said that Washington could only be approached for assistance on a few points after an agreement was reached on the framework.

At the moment, the country desires a resumption and expansion of the program with the IMF and has had meetings with the United States which, being the largest shareholder, has tangible influence on the Monetary Fund and has recently agreed to help Pakistan in this endeavour by extracting a deal from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Media reports had been saying Pakistan was previously “seeking Washington’s support” for the renewal of this EFF and the Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan also met Assistant US Trade Representative (USTR) for South and Central Asia Christopher Wilson on Saturday to talk about the two countries in terms of their trade relations and to encourage investments from the US in Pakistan.

USTR governs investment policy, international trade and commodity for the US and looks over trade agreements with other countries.

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On the same day, Masood Khan also had a meeting with the leading rail company, Wabtec, which is said, according to a statement, to have expressed “keen interest in furthering its existing partnership with Pakistan and in assisting the Pakistan Railways in meeting its locomotive requirements.”

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According to Ambassador Masood Khan, “While we greatly appreciate the existing level of cooperation between Wabtec and Pakistan Railways, particularly in engineering and rail services, we look forward to benefiting from the company’s expertise in the modernisation of railway networks and indigenisation of locomotive manufacturing in Pakistan.”

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