The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has emphasized that its $3 billion Standby Arrangement (SBA) with Pakistan aims to provide a policy guideline to address the nation’s domestic and external financial imbalances. The structure is also designed to garner financial support from other potential donors and manage the rollovers of looming debts.
Human Rights Concerns and Poverty
During a press briefing at the IMF’s Washington DC headquarters, spokesperson Julie Kozack addressed several inquiries about the organization’s engagement with Pakistan, particularly regarding the country’s requests related to escalated energy costs. When confronted with concerns about the agreement potentially infringing on the human rights of Pakistan’s citizens, especially the significant population living below the poverty line, Kozack elaborated on the primary objectives of the program.
She stated, “The program, approved on July 12, is a nine-month Standby Arrangement supporting Pakistan’s Economic Stabilization initiative. It intends to rectify domestic and external imbalances and form a basis for monetary aid from other donors, including bilateral and multilateral partners.”
Reforms and Social Development Plans
Highlighting the central policy efforts, Kozack mentioned that they revolve around the effective execution of the 2024 fiscal year budget, apt monetary policies for controlling inflation, and ongoing reforms to bolster the energy sector’s viability.
She explained that these reforms’ primary goal is to chart a path for sustainable, inclusive, and robust economic growth. Furthermore, she said, “The programme envisions enhancing public financial management and tax administrative measures, along with a more focused approach towards public investment.”
She also mentioned the support from key partners like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
Kozack concluded by reiterating IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva’s stance on poverty and inequality, emphasizing the significance of wealthier segments of society shouldering their fair share of the fiscal burden. “The intention is to ensure that the richer segments pay their due taxes, considering Pakistan’s exceptionally low tax-to-GDP ratio, while safeguarding the economically challenged and vulnerable sectors of the society under the program,” she remarked.