ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin said on Wednesday that Pakistan requested the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to postpone the board meeting, which was moved to a later date for the second time.
Business Recorder reported earlier that the IMF Executive Board will now meet on February 2 for Pakistan's sixth review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). The IMF calendar had earlier showed that the sixth review would be held on January 28.
“At our request, the IMF extended the deadline until February 2, and in the coming days the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) (Amendment) Bill will be passed from the Senate,” said Tarin while addressing a press conference at the Pak China Friendship Center Islamabad.
The meeting, which was first reported to be held on January 12, was also moved due to Pakistan's request earlier.
Meanwhile, reiterating the economic issues the government had inherited, Tarin said that there were a number of crises.
"When the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) came to power, Pakistan was facing a current account deficit, which pushed the government to seek help from the IMF. We were given a tough programme to follow," said Tarin.
He said that the second crisis was the Covid-19 pandemic which Tarin termed “a once in a century crisis".
Additionally, Tarin said commodity prices in the international market coupled with the turmoil in Afghanistan have all added to pressure on the economy.
“The prices of some commodities including oil, coal, steel, edible oil and pulses have increased by 85-90%.
“In January 2021, oil prices stood at $42 per barrel and are now around $87. Similarly, edible oil is currently trading at $1,300 per ton from $500-600 per ton.
“This has resulted in inflation and has widened the trade deficit. However, our exports have also increased by 25-29%, alongside remittances, which has brought some relief.”
Talking about the Afghanistan crisis, Tarin said that they have told the Taliban authorities, who are facing a shortage of funds after the country's assets were frozen, to conduct trade with Pakistan in rupees.