ROUNDUP: U.S., Russia, IMF and Pak Economy

The United States of America wants to see Pakistan in an ‘economically sustainable’ position, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a press briefing on Wednesday. Pakistan’s macroeconomic stability was a topic of conversation between the Department of State and its counterparts, the White House, the Treasury Department, and others, he added. Price furthered added that while Washington could be “supportive” of Islamabad, the ultimate conversations were between Pakistan and the international financial institutions. (Express Tribune)

Pakistan’s policymakers are currently facing a significant challenge in deciding whether to continue with the Extended Fund Facility agreement signed with the IMF in 2019 or to abandon it. The country’s gross external financial requirement for this year is estimated at around $30 billion. Over the next three years, Pakistan’s external debt repayment obligations are projected to be around $73 billion, including the current account deficit and debt repayment needs. (Pakistan Observer)

The IMF has refused to relax its conditions set for Pakistan to complete the ninth review of the $7 billion loan program, which would release around $1 billion to the cash-strapped South Asian country. (Dunya News)

Meanwhile, top government decision-makers have developed a plan to end the impasse and restart the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program. The whole cost of electricity would now be passed on to customers and gas prices will increase by 50–60 percent. There will also need to impose new taxes totaling Rs300–400 billion through higher indirect tax rates and withholding tax rates. (Dunya News)

On Wednesday, a three-day Pakistani-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation began in Islamabad. Russia and Pakistan are unlikely to reach conclusive agreements on energy imports, but have expressed the hope to sign protocols for boosting cooperation in nine major economic sectors including oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG). The two sides met to examine the prospects for cooperation in the field of electricity including hydropower and renewable power projects, “cooperation in the field of oil and gas production and prospects of energy supply from Russia to Pakistan. Nine major areas of bilateral interest including trade and investment, agriculture, energy, finance, customs, industrial cooperation, education & science and technology, information & communication technologies and communications like roads, railways and postal services are under discussions. About 80 members of the Russian delegation also include many businessmen who would hold B2B meetings with their counterparts on the sidelines and as part of the ongoing meetings. (Dawn)