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IMF relaxes requirements on Pakistan’s FY 2016 misreporting

Finance

Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday said that the Pakistani authorities have shown strong commitment in providing accurate data in future so the Executive Board of the IMF decided not to require further remedial action in connection with the breach obligations.

A statement issued by the IMF said that the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a 39-month Extended Arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Pakistan in the amount of SDR 4,268 billion (about US$6 billion), equivalent to 210 percent of quota, on July 3, 2019.

The first review under the arrangement was completed by the Executive Board on December 19, 2019, based upon, inter alia, the reported observance of the quantitative performance criteria (PC) at end-September 2019, including the amount of government guarantees. Upon completion of the first review under the EFF, Pakistan made a purchase equivalent to SDR 328 million (about US$452.4 million).

Subsequently, new information that came to the authorities’ attention, and which was shared with Fund staff, has revealed that the data on government guarantees dating back to FY 2016 was reported inaccurately.

The revised data indicates a nonobservance of the PC on government guarantees at end-September 2019 by a margin of Rs357 billion (about 0.9 percent of GDP), which resulted in a non-complying purchase and a breach of obligations under Article VIII, Section 5 of the IMF Articles of Agreement.

The authorities previously reported that the PC had been met with a margin of PRs 55 billion (0.1 percent of GDP) at end-September 2019. The statistical revision only had a small impact on public debt.

The authorities have taken strong corrective actions to address institutional and technical short-comings that gave rise to the inaccurate information, including:

(i) creating a working group to reconcile and cross-check guarantees and debt data;

(ii) announcing additional functions for the Debt Policy Coordination Office (DPCO), including to act as custodian of all guarantees issued by the federal government; and

(iii) publishing a semi-annual debt bulletin that consolidates key debt statistics. Beyond these actions, the authorities have committed to include a list of all new guarantees expected to be issued in the FY 2022 budget submitted to Parliament.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Deputy Managing Director Antoinette Sayeh and Acting Chair, stated:

“The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reviewed Pakistan’s remedial actions and data revisions linked to a noncomplying purchase under the Extended Arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility as well as a breach of obligations under Article VIII, Section 5. The non-complying purchase arose as a result of a lack of inter-agency coordination in the compilation of government guarantees provided by the federal government to state-owned enterprises that contributed to incorrect estimates of government guarantees starting as far back as FY 2016.

In view of the strong and proactive commitment by Pakistan to provide timely and accurate data to the IMF in the future, the Executive Board decided not to require further remedial action in connection with the breach of obligations under Article VIII, Section 5.

As the authorities have taken appropriate corrective measures since the purchase in December 2019, the Executive Board also granted a waiver for the nonobservance of the quantitative performance criterion.”

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