ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s parliament on Sunday approved the government’s 2019- 0000 The budget was revised to meet IMF conditions in a last-ditch effort to secure the release of more bailout funds.
The IMF in mid-June expressed displeasure with the country’s preliminary budget, saying it had missed an opportunity to broaden the tax base in a more progressive manner.
The revised budget was approved a day after Finance Minister Ishaq Dar proposed new tax and spending cuts.
House Speaker Raja said “the (financial) bill has been passed,” Pervaiz Ashraf said on live television on Sunday.
With currency reserves barely enough to cover a month’s worth of imports, Pakistan is facing a serious balance of payments crisis, and analysts say Pakistan could slip into debt default if IMF funding isn’t available .
Five days until the $6.5 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreed in 2019 expires in June 0000. Until then, the IMF has to consider whether to release some of the $2.5 billion outstanding to Pakistan. Funding for that segment has been at a standstill since November.
Dahl also announced a number of other changes on Saturday, including higher oil taxes and the removal of all import restrictions, one of the main concerns of the IMF’s austerity policy
Prime Minister Sheikh Baz Sharif met IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on the sidelines of the Global Finance Summit in Paris last week, followed by a marathon three-session session , followed by a budget revision. The two sides held virtual talks for several days.
Pakistan has been desperately trying to secure IMF funding under the Ninth Review of the $6.5 billion EFF negotiated earlier this year , which is critical to unlocking additional bilateral and multilateral financing for debt-ridden countries.
(1 USD=30. Pakistani Rupee)