ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Miftah Ismail leaves for Washington to attend spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank a few days before the last federal budget of the PML-N government to be announced on April 27.
The visit of the finance and economic affairs advisor causing speculation that he may seek some reprieve from international donors and the US government.
Miftah Ismail, however, said that the government is not seeking another package from the IMF, which begins its spring meetings in Washington from April 18.
Pakistan successfully completed the 36-month IMF package started in 2013 and earned IMF’s praise for fiscal discipline during this period.
Some analysts predict that deteriorating external finances and dwindling foreign reserves may force the country to seek another bailout package from the IMF.
During his three-day stay in Washington, Ismail will also meet senior US officials in an effort to improve economic ties with the world’s largest economy.
Concerns about critically low foreign exchange reserves — caused by a widening current account deficit — are also to likely figure prominently in Miftah’s talks in Washington. .
A World Bank report cautioned that macroeconomic stability in Pakistan was a major concern for the near-term economic outlook. It noted that the balance of payments position was particularly vulnerable and the upcoming elections may make things worse by delaying policy adjustments.
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