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SBA: IMF awaits formation of PM Shehbaz’s cabinet ahead of sending mission for 2nd review

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said it “stands ready” to send its mission to Pakistan mission for the second review of the Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) after a new cabinet is formed.
In a press briefing, Julie Kozack, the IMF’s Director of Strategic Communications, stated: “The IMF stands ready to hold a mission for the second review of the Stand-by shortly after a new cabinet is formed.
“The focus, therefore, is on completing the current Stand-by program, which ends in April 2024. We look forward to working with the new government on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability,” she said.
Pakistan held its General Elections last month, but delays in issuing the results and forming a coalition government have meant the process of a new setup has taken time.
Shehbaz Sharif took the oath as prime minister on Monday, but his cabinet has yet to be formed, and coalition partners seem to be dragging their feet on various choices.
There is also intense speculation on the choice of finance minister, with various names being floated.
When asked about the IMF’s assessment of Pakistan’s external financial needs for 2024 and the size of the next IMF program, Kozack said on January 11 that the IMF Executive Board approved the first review of the SBA with Pakistan, bringing total disbursements under the Stand-by to about $1.9 billion.
She said, “The SBA-supported program underpins the authority’s efforts to stabilize the economy, with a strong emphasis on protecting the most vulnerable segments of the population.”
The IMF official lauded the role of the caretaker government for maintaining “economic stability” in the country.

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