Pakistan to continue bailout talks with IMF
Islamabad, May 11 (IANS) The Pakistan government has said that talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a bailout package will continue over the weekend as the two parties are yet to reach an agreement, the media reported on Saturday.
Late Friday night, the Finance Ministry said only that "we have made good progress in our discussions with the visiting IMF mission. Consultations will continue over the weekend", Dawn news reported.
The talks were originally planned to conclude on Friday and the IMF mission had confirmed return flights to Washington D.C. late in the night. Those travel plans have presumably been modified.
An informed source said a steep monetary adjustment and fiscal realignments were the key sticking points holding back a final outcome and the IMF had not changed its stance since October last year.
The IMF delegation had arrived in Islamabad on May 1. The bailout package is likely to range between $7-$8 billion.
Sources said the IMF mission wants Pakistan to commit to an upfront adjustment plan along with ‘deep-rooted’ and wide-ranging structural reforms to secure the bailout.
This adjustment, according to the IMF, should be supported by major increases in electricity and gas rates and quick recovery plan for bleeding public-sector entities and explanations to some ‘untouchable expenditures’.