WASHINGTON, 4th February, 2016 (WAM) — The International Monetary Fund, IMF, and Pakistan have reached staff-level agreement on the completion of the tenth review under the IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement. The agreement is subject to approval by the IMF Management and the Executive Board. Upon completion of this review, SDR 360 million (about US$497 million) will be made available to Pakistan.

According to IMF, a staff mission of the fund, led by Harald Finger, visited Dubai during January 26-February 4, 2016 to conduct discussions on the tenth review of Pakistan’s economic programme supported by a three-year IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement.

The staff team met with Finance Minister of Pakistan Ishaq Dar, State Bank of Pakistan Governor Ashraf Wathra, and other senior officials. At the conclusion of the mission, Mr. Finger issued the following statement.

“After constructive discussions, the mission and the Pakistani authorities have reached staff-level agreement on the completion of the tenth review under the EFF arrangement. The agreement is subject to approval by the IMF Management and the Executive Board. Upon completion of this review, SDR 360 million (about US$497 million) will be made available to Pakistan.

“Economic activity remains robust. Although a weak cotton harvest, declining exports, and a more challenging external environment are weighing on growth prospects, real GDP growth is expected to reach 4.5 percent in FY 2015/16, helped by lower oil prices, planned improvements in the energy supply, investment related to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), buoyant construction activity, and acceleration of credit growth.

“Headline consumer price inflation has begun to rise as the effects of past declines in commodity prices fade, and will likely reach around 4.5 percent by end of FY 2015/16. Nevertheless, inflation is expected to remain well-anchored by continued prudent monetary policy. Gross international reserves reached US$15.9 billion in December 2015, up from US$15.2 billion at end-September 2015 and covering close to four months of prospective imports.”

WAM/AAMIR