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In Washington meeting, Ishaq Dar to ask IMF to revise macroeconomic framework

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  • Ishaq Dar to attend IMF/World Bank meetings from Oct 10 to 16.
  • Pakistan to formally request IMF to give concessions on loan conditions.
  • IMF says policy commitments made by Pakistan to continue to apply.

Amid controversy over the new petrol price announced by the government which has been termed a “reckless” decision, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will travel to Washington next week and hold meetings with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), seeking to revise the macroeconomic framework.

“Pakistan’s Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar will participate in the upcoming annual meeting of the IMF/WB,” a top official of the Finance Ministry confirmed while talking to The News on Wednesday.

In a surprise move last week, the federal government slashed the prices of petroleum products sparking debate about whether the move is in line with the IMF deal and former minister Miftah Ismail termed it a “reckless” move.

However, Dar responded to his predecessor by saying he knows how to deal with the IMF while state minister for finance Aisha Ghous Pasha added that the announcement didn’t violate the loan agreement.

The IMF had also said that policy commitments made by the Pakistani authorities as part of the seventh and eighth reviews under their support program continue to apply.

The publication, quoting unnamed sources, said that Pakistan will make a formal request to the IMF high-ups for revising the macroeconomic framework for the current fiscal year 2022-23 by lowering the GDP growth rate, hiking inflation and upward adjustments of twin deficits known as the budget deficit and current account deficit.

Islamabad is all set to make a request to the IMF for making the conditions attached to the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) lenient, especially freezing fuel price adjustment of electricity and petroleum development levy on POL products for the next few months to provide some relief to the inflation-stricken masses.

Pakistan, the report said, will also request to relax the budget deficit target for the current fiscal year as severe floods might damage its revenue mobilisation efforts and increase pressures on the expenditure front.

The government has restricted the budget deficit target at 4.9% for the current fiscal year under the IMF programme and throwing a revenue surplus of Rs153 billion till the end of June 2023.

The request for revising the macroeconomic framework will be made for the current fiscal year in the wake of severe floods that have caused devastation and required construction costs of over $30 billion for the struggling economy of Pakistan.

As per the report, Secretary Economic Affairs Division Kazim Niaz had already departed Islamabad for Washington to attend the upcoming meetings of Breton Wood Institutions.

Under the macroeconomic framework, the government has assessed that the country’s GDP growth might hover around 2% for the current fiscal year against the initially envisaged target of 5%.

The economic loss has been estimated at Rs2.4 trillion for the current fiscal year. The government’s projections also show that unemployment projection will increase due to the loss of 1.8 to 2 million jobs and poverty may hike by 4.5 to 5%, implying that 9 to 12 million people will fall below the poverty line.

The agriculture growth is feared to remain negative in the range of -0.7% to -2.1% against the target of plus 3.9% for the current fiscal year. The government has estimated that the growth in major crops was expected to remain negative in the range of 14 to 15.4% for the current fiscal year. Around one million large and small animals have perished. The livestock growth is expected to remain between 2 to 3% against the desired target of 3.7 % for the current fiscal year.

The inflation will hike, to go up in the range of 23 to 25% for the current fiscal year against the initially envisaged target of 11.5%.

The government has not yet firmed up any specific number for the current account deficit but it is feared that it may go up from $9 billion to $12 billion for the ongoing financial year mainly because of decline in exports.

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In a first for history, PSX crosses the 77,000 milestone.

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At 77,213.31, the benchmark KSE-100 hit an all-time high, up 1,005.15, or 1.32%, from the previous close of 76,208.16.

The government’s readiness to seal an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following the budget was cited by analysts as the reason for the upward trend.

Experts anticipate that in an attempt to bolster its position for a fresh bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the budget for the fiscal year ending in June 2025 would set aggressive fiscal goals.

Budget for Pakistan, 2024–2025
Pakistan’s budget for the fiscal year 2024–25, with a total expenditure of Rs18.877 trillion, was presented on Wednesday by Minister of Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb.

The Finance Minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, outlined the budget highlights. He stated that the GDP growth target for the fiscal year 2024–25 is set at 3.6 percent, while the inflation rate is anticipated to stay at 12 percent.

He stated that while the primary surplus is anticipated to be 1.0 percent of GDP during the review period, the budget deficit to GDP is forecast to be 6.9 percent over the period under review.

According to the minister, tax income collection increased by 38% in the current fiscal year, and the province will receive Rs7,438 billion. The Federal Board of income expects to earn Rs12,970 billion in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.

In contrast to the federal government’s projected net income of Rs9,119 billion, he stated that the federation’s non-tax revenue projections are set at Rs3,587 billion.

The federal government’s total outlays are projected to be Rs18,877 billion, with interest payments accounting for the remaining Rs9,775 billion.

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Pakistan currently has $14.38 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

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Pakistan’s commercial banks’ reserves, which stood at $5.28 billion at the conclusion of the week ending on June 7, rose by US$174 million, according to a central bank statement.

Reserving US$6.2 million less, the SBP now has US$9.10 billion in reserves. The causes for the decline in the reserves it had were not disclosed by the central bank.

The SBP released a statement that stated, “SBP reserves decreased by US$ 6 million to US$ 9,103.3 million during the week ended on 07-June-2024.”

The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) foreign exchange reserves were reduced by US$ 63 million as a result of repaying external debt, with the reserves standing at US$ 9.093 billion as of earlier on June 6.

The central bank spokesperson said in a statement that as of the week that concluded on May 31, the nation’s total liquid foreign reserves were $14.31 billion.

In terms of net foreign reserves, commercial banks have US$ 5.22 billion of the overall foreign reserves, according to the SBP.

SBP reserves dropped by US$ 63 million to US$ 9,093.7 million during the week that ended on May 24, 2024, according to the announcement.

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In the local market, the price of gold plummets to Rs240,700/tola.

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Gold with a 24-karat purity level has dropped by Rs1200/tola on the local market.

Each tola of 24-karat gold is now selling for Rs240,700, with a further drop of Rs1029 bringing the price of 10 kilos of gold to Rs206,361. These figures are courtesy of the All Sarafa and Jewelers Association.

Meanwhile, after a $2 decline on the global market, one ounce of gold will be valued $2315.

A tola of gold was worth Rs 600 more on Wednesday.

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