The IMF delegation is giving Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and his team a “very difficult time,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif admitted on Friday.
Speaking at a meeting of the Apex Committee in Peshawar today, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the revised IMF preconditions for resuming the $7 billion bailout are difficult to understand, and the lender is refusing to grant any relief despite requests.
“Our economic challenge at the moment is unimaginable,” the Prime Minister said, without going into much detail about the ongoing IMF dialogue. The conditions we must meet [to complete the IMF review] are unfathomable”.
The prime minister also admitted that the country had no choice but to comply with the lender’s terms.
On Tuesday, the IMF delegation led by Nathan Porter and the government began crunch talks to complete the 9th review. If it hasn’t already been stated numerous times in recent months, everyone now understands that Pakistan must complete the IMF review in order to avoid default.
According to the most recent weekly statistics, the country’s reserves have been depleted to a critically low level of $3.09 billion as of January 27, enough to cover only 18 days of imports. If the IMF review is completed, it will result in a $1.12 billion disbursement as well as inflows from friendly countries and other multilateral lenders.
The IMF mission has emphasized the importance of immediate and strong measures to bridge Pakistan’s looming fiscal gap of approximately Rs. 2.5 trillion since the crunch talks began this week. Conditions have deteriorated in recent days, and requests for additional relief have been flatly denied.