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Dar expects to close IMF deal as talks set to resume

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has seemingly been on the verge of signing the much-anticipated staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for several weeks now, but the coming week may see the finance minister “close the deal”, sources in the finance ministry told Dawn.

The government has been sticking to its line of “very soon”, and a finance ministry official said that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar would resume the final round of talks with the lender tomorrow (Monday).

Earlier this week, Mr Dar said the government would sign a staff-level agreement with the Fund in a few days.

The finance ministry official said the deal couldn’t be signed this weekend because of delays in compliance with certain measures from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

Islamabad hosted an IMF mission in early February to negotiate the terms of a deal, including the adoption of policy measures to manage its fiscal deficit ahead of the annual budget due around June.

Finance ministry official says last prior actions completed by SBP, compliance reports shared with lender

Since then, Mr Dar has been consistently saying that the deal would be signed soon. On Thursday, he said the country was “very close” to signing the staff-level agreement.