Access to IMF
The government has asked the IMF to raise access by a further $2 billion under the planned extended fund facility. For any country seeking IMF money, there are three criteria that determine access: first, the balance-of-payments need; second, the strength of the programme; and third, the capacity to repay the IMF. These criteria are not etched in stone and in cases like ours – with Pakistan always wanting more and the IMF offering less – there is always room for negotiation. More often than not, the IMF l and we win, only to complain later that our debt has increased and we can’t pay it back except by borrowing more money.
Also, one would have thought that the matter of access would have been discussed and settled. This doesn’t seem to be the case. It is inappropriate to talk about money in the public domain because, inter alia, it puts both parties on the spot. Besides, in the past, access was always discussed in a small, restricted meeting towards the end of negotiations and if there was still any disagreement, the matter was taken up and settled at the level of the managing director of the IMF, all the while maintaining the strictest of confidence. I suppose times have changed.
Meekal A Ahmed