Govt says has met all IMF’s requirements for $6b loan deal
KARACHI: Minister of State for Finance, Revenue and Power Ali Pervaiz Malik said that the government of Pakistan has addressed all of International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) requirements in its annual budget to clinch a staff level agreement on a bailout of more than $6 billion this month.

 The South Asian country has set challenging revenue targets in its annual budget to help it win approval from the IMF for a loan to stave off another economic meltdown, even as domestic anger rises at new taxation measures.

"We hope to culminate this (IMF) process in the next three to four weeks," Minister of State for Finance, Revenue and Power Ali Pervaiz Malik said on Wednesday, with the aim of thrashing out a staff level agreement before the IMF board recess.

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"I think it will be north of $6 billion," he said of the size of the package, though he added at this point the IMF s validation was primary focus.

The IMF did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Pakistan has set a tax revenue target of 13 trillion rupees ($47 billion) for the fiscal year that began on July 1, a near-40% jump from the prior year, and a sharp drop in its fiscal deficit to 5.9% of gross domestic product from 7.4% the previous year.

Malik said the point of pushing out a tough and unpopular budget was to use it a stepping stone for an IMF programme, adding the lender was satisfied with the revenue measures taken, based on their talks.

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"There are no major issues left to address, now that all major prior actions have been met, the budget being one of them," Malik said.

While the budget may win approval from the IMF, it could fuel public anger, according to analysts.

Talking to Reuters, Malik said, "Obviously they (budget reforms) are burdensome for the local economy but the IMF program is all about stabilisation.”