International Monetary Fund (IMF). (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Islamabad, Feb 28 : The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that it had reached a staff-level agreement with the Pakistan government "on policies and reforms needed to complete the second review" of the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

The announcement was made on Thursday by Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, Mission Chief for Pakistan, after a series of engagements with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shaikh, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir and Finance Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch through video conference over the last two weeks, reports Dawn news.

"IMF staff and the Pakistani authorities have reached a staff-level agreement on policies and reforms needed to complete the second review of the authorities' reform programme supported under the EFF," Rigo was quoted as saying in a statement.

The agreement is subject to approval by the IMF management and consideration by its executive board, which is expected in early April.

Completion of the review will enable disbursement of around $450 million, the statement said.

The Pakistan authorities were tight-lipped over the "policies and reforms needed to complete the second review" but hinted that the two sides had agreed over the fact that some breathing space was required to absorb earlier shocks before further adjustment as higher than estimated inflation had put unexpected pressure on majority of the people.

On completion of staff level discussions between February 3 and 13 in Islamabad, the IMF mission had reported considerable progress to have been made in the last few months in advancing reforms and continuing with sound economic policies, Dawn news reported.

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